Underreporting of deaths in the maternal deaths surveillance system in one region of Morocco

Saloua Abouchadi, Wei-Hong Zhang, Vincent De Brouwere

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the reliability of maternal deaths surveillance system (MDSS) and to determine the factors that influence its completeness in one region of Morocco.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective survey in "Gharb Chrarda Bni Hssen" region (GCBH) between January the 1st, 2013 and September the 30th, 2014 using multiple sources approach. All deaths of women of reproductive age (WRA) were investigated using certificates with medical cause, medical records and interviews with household members and relatives to ascertain a pregnancy-related or maternal death. An External Expert Committee reviewed the information collected to assign a cause for each death. Our results were compared to those reported in the same period by the MDSS.

FINDINGS: Our study identified 690 deaths of WRA and 69 maternal deaths of which 34.8% occurred outside health facilities. The MDSS recorded during the study period 538 deaths of WRA and 29 maternal deaths (including only one outside health facility) representing respectively an underreporting of 22.0% and 58.0%. Late maternal deaths represented 11.4% of all deaths of women with a registered pregnancy within 12 months prior to the death, while the MDSS identified none. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was estimated at 103, approximately 2.5 times higher than that reported in the MDSS.

CONCLUSION: Our study has shown weaknesses in the current notification system for maternal deaths in the region of GCBH. Therefore, more attention must be given to the regional committees in charge of auditing the cases and defining actions to be implemented to prevent further maternal deaths.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0188070
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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