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26.06.2019 | Original article | Ausgabe 6/2019 Open Access

International Journal of Public Health 6/2019

Status of birth and pregnancy outcome capture in Health Demographic Surveillance Sites in 13 countries

International Journal of Public Health > Ausgabe 6/2019
Peter Waiswa, Joseph Akuze, Cheryl Moyer, Doris Kwesiga, Samuelina Arthur, Osman Sankoh, Paul Welaga, Martin Bangha, Jacques Eminas, Sheru Muuo, Abdhalah Ziraba, Kate Kerber, INDEPTH Network MNCH team
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00038-019-01241-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Kate Kerber: Senior author.
Peter Waiswa and Joseph Akuze are joint first authors.

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We compared pregnancy identification methods and outcome capture across 31 Health Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.


From 2009 to 2014, details on the sites and surveillance systems including frequency of update rounds, characteristics of enumerators and interviewers, acceptable respondents were collected and compared across sites.


The 31 HDSS had a combined population of over 2,905,602 with 165,820 births for the period. Stillbirth rate ranged from 1.9 to 42.6 deaths per 1000 total births and the neonatal mortality rate from 2.6 to 41.6 per 1000 live births. Three quarters (75.3%) of recorded neonatal deaths occurred in the first week of life. The proportion of infant deaths that occurred in the neonatal period ranged from 8 to 83%, with a median of 53%. Sites that registered pregnancies upon locating a live baby in the routine household surveillance round had lower recorded mortality rates.


Increased attention and standardization of pregnancy surveillance and the time of birth will improve data collection and provide platforms for evaluations and availability of data for decision-making with implications for national planning.

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