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UNFPA Pacific, Honiara (Solomon Islands) October 05, 2016 - Health workers in the maternal health care field are advancing their knowledge and capacity in a two-day training provided by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, on the effective use of Maternal Death Surveillance and Response or MDSR.

MDSR is a strategy for the improvement of the quality of maternal health care, which will ideally, lead to a reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Implemented correctly, MDSR can potentially provide critical evidence of the progeny - whether community or health system-based - of maternal health challenges.

MDSR enables targeted responses to prevent deaths, with the ultimate goal of eliminating all preventable maternal deaths. The training is conducted by UNFPA Reproductive Health Adviser Dr Pulane Tlebere; participants mainly comprise rural-based health workers.

"The UNFPA believes MDSR is a powerful tool that is not only used to systematically highlight the realities of maternal deaths at ground level, analyze the underlying medical, social and systemic factors but can also facilitate use of this evidence to generate community and programme action," Dr Tlebere said.

The UNFPA commends the Solomon Islands including the provinces for adopting the action-oriented approach of MDSR as well as acknowledging that it is entering the post-2015 era with unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly with MDG 5.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines maternal death as "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes".

Providing a brief history of the field of maternal health in the Solomon Islands at the training, former national reproductive health coordinator, retired midwife Judith Seke said the reporting of maternal deaths have been generally ad-hoc with different provinces having their different formats of reporting death.

"The divisions at the time were advised to report all deaths by writing report on the circumstances surrounding the death of the mother - there were no special reporting forms as long as we reported the number of deaths, its cause and how to prevent it from happening again, ," Mrs Seke said.

"This training will therefore equip us to have a better reporting system which will capture critical information that will inform targeted approaches to improve our maternal health care."

For more information please contact Ariela Zibiah on or +677 7834803