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There has been a significant decline in maternal mortality in Malaysia
since independence. The issue of measuring maternal mortality accurately is a problem in all countries. Another major problem is whether we can reduce the mortality further. The definition of maternal mortality includes two major components, which are causation of death and the time of death. To improve data collection on maternal deaths, we need to collect all data on maternal deaths, which are omitted or misclassified. Deaths from accidental causes that are not normally used in the calculations of maternal mortality need to be carefully reexamined to be excluded. The time of death means that in maternal mortality calculations, it includes up to six weeks after delivery, but recent World Health Organization (WHO) publication (ICD-10) suggests that the collection of maternal deaths even after six weeks should be reviewed because there are many maternal deaths which occur after six weeks. Measuring maternal mortality rate should be encouraged rather than maternal mortality ratio. Another measurement of maternal mortality is the lifetime risk of the women. The lifetime risk is the measure of maternal mortality that takes into account the probability of becoming
pregnant and the probability of dying as a result of pregnancy. Many countries have started reporting the lifetime risk, which is considered to be better indicator to measure maternal health.
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