State health department program receives national recognition
identification of maternal deaths
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[October 17, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- In the Illinois
Department of Public Health's work to ultimately reduce maternal
deaths, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
recently awarded the department a 2013 Vision Award. The ASTHO
Vision Awards annually recognize outstanding health department
programs and initiatives that use creative approaches to address
public health needs or problems. The awards promote awareness and
replication of successful state health programs and initiatives.
ASTHO reviewers selected IDPH's Nancy Martin, who works in the
Perinatal Health Data Section, as a first-place winner for her
innovative approach to improving identification of maternal deaths.
Working with the Illinois Maternal Mortality Review Committee,
Martin developed a standardized investigative protocol that uses
nontraditional resources to identify maternal deaths, such as online
newspaper reports, obituaries, search engines, police death
investigation reports and funeral home websites. Martin also worked
with the committee to develop a checklist to ensure proper
documentation reaches IDPH for complete case preparation.
"IDPH is excited about the 2013 Vision Award and would like to
congratulate Nancy Martin on her innovative approach, which has
already increased information included in case reviews," said
Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck.
"Furthermore, with the identification of trends, high-risk groups
and disparities, appropriate interventions to mitigate risk and
enhance health care services can be developed and implemented to
decrease maternal mortality numbers and rates in Illinois."
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Globally, about 800 women die each day from complications of
pregnancy or childbirth, and the number of maternal deaths is
worsening rapidly. Roughly 80 maternal deaths occur annually in
Illinois. While about 40 percent of those are reported to IDPH
through hospital reporting requirements, the other 60 percent are
determined through investigation.
By identifying and studying patterns, obstacles in the health care
delivery system and social infrastructure can be better addressed
and interventions implemented. Obstacles may include a lack of
information about maternal care or family planning; language
barriers; inadequate postpartum care; and economic, psychosocial and
cultural barriers. Recognizing these factors using Martin's
innovative approach to identifying maternal deaths can make the case
for improvements in communities facing substantial gaps.
Illinois Department of Public
Health file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]