A comparison of approaches to measuring maternal mortality in Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Bolivia

Kavita Singh, Qingfeng Li, Karar Zunaid Ahsan, Sian Curtis, William Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many low- and middle-income countries cannot measure maternal mortality to monitor progress against global and country-specific targets. While the ultimate goal for these countries is to have complete civil registrations systems, other interim strategies are needed to provide timely estimates of maternal mortality. Objective: The objective is to inform on potential options for measuring maternal mortality. Methods: This paper uses a case study approach to compare methodologies and estimates of pregnancy-related mortality ratio (PRMR)/maternal mortality ratio (MMR) obtained from four different data sources from similar time periods in Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Bolivia—national population census; post-census mortality survey; household sample survey; and sample vital registration system (SVRS). Results: For Bangladesh, PRMR from the 2011 census falls closely in line with the 2010 household survey and SVRS estimates, while SVRS’ MMR estimates are closer to the PRMR estimates obtained from the household survey. Mozambique's PRMR from household survey method is comparable and shows an upward trend between 1994 and 2011, whereas the post-census mortality survey estimated a higher MMR for 2007. Bolivia's DHS and post-census mortality survey also estimated comparable MMR during 1998–2003. Conclusions: Overall all these data sources presented in this paper have provided valuable information on maternal mortality in Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Bolivia. It also outlines recommendations to estimate maternal mortality based on the advantages and disadvantages of several approaches. Contribution: Recommendations in this paper can help health administrators and policy planners in prioritizing investment for collecting reliable and contemporaneous estimates of maternal mortality while progressing toward a complete civil registration system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalPopulation Health Metrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Maternal mortality
  • Mozambique
  • Population census
  • Pregnancy-related mortality
  • Sample survey
  • Vital registration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


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