Maternal deaths research to boost mother and baby care

RESEARCH, designed to improve the health of mothers and babies by learning lessons from maternal deaths, is to be undertaken in Ireland as part of a study under way in Britain and the North.

Health Minister Mary Harney last night launched a Confidential Enquiry into Maternal & Child Health (CEMACH) which will allow standardised reviews of maternal deaths in Ireland.

The new initiative from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and the Health Service Executive aims to improve the health of mothers and babies by carrying out confidential enquiries and by disseminating its findings and recommendations to all maternity hospitals.

From 2009, maternal deaths in Ireland will be included in the CEMACH review. CEMACH produces a report once every three years which informs those who plan, manage and provide maternity services. The report will be also made publicly available.

The CEMACH Ireland’s office will be set up in the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

Speaking prior to the launch, Dr Michael O’Hare, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and chair of the CEMACH Ireland Working Group said, said involvement in CEMACH was “an important step forward for those involved in the delivery of maternity services in Ireland”.

The maternal death rate in Ireland has improved from 6.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1980 to 1.4 in 2007.

A maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.


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