Maternal mortality in Burkina Faso: a method from population census 2006

25 Nov 2013

Background: Estimating maternal mortality level is constantly challenging researchers and planners both in rich and poor countries. In developing countries, particularly in Burkina Faso where the registration system is not working properly, censuses and surveys are the main providers of maternal mortality estimates. However, censuses provide more reliable data about maternal mortality especially at sub-national level. Strength of this situation, the census 2006 of Burkina Faso collected information about maternal mortality. Unfortunately, the census also under reported the phenomenon. In this regard, a methodology was developed to provide adjusted estimates of the phenomenon. Methods: This paper aims to assess the census 2006 estimates of maternal mortality through a critical review of the questionnaire, data quality, adjustment technique and outputs. Incoherencies, duplicated cases and missing data were the key aspects of the data quality assessment. The assumptions and outputs of the method were examined and comparison made with existent estimates. Results: Findings highlighted weaknesses regarding the assumptions of the method and showed that the levels of the phenomenon were still under-estimated. In this research, propositions have been made concerning data cleaning, situations of adjustment coefficients less than 1 and the problem of weak assumptions. Findings led to a MMRatio of 331 [293-402] maternal deaths per 100 000 live births. Conclusion: The level of maternal mortality as published in the census 2006 report (MMRatio of 307) is acceptable because falling in the range 293-402. However, the questionnaire, data and method used needed improvements.