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BACKGROUND: In India there is a thrust towards promoting institutional delivery, resulting in problems of overcrowding and compromise to quality of care. Review of near-miss obstetric events has been suggested to be useful to investigate health system functioning, complementing maternal death reviews. The aim of this project was to identify the key elements required for a near-miss review programme for India. METHODS: A structured review was conducted to identify methods used in assessing near-miss cases. The findings of the structured review were used to develop a suggested framework for conducting near-miss reviews in India. A pool of experts in near-miss review methods in low and middle income countries (LMICs) was identified for vetting the framework developed. Opinions were sought about the feasibility of implementing near-miss reviews in India, the processes to be followed, factors that made implementation successful and the associated challenges. A draft of the framework was revised based on the experts' opinions. RESULTS: Five broad methods of near-miss case review/audit were identified: Facility-based near-miss case review, confidential enquiries, criterion-based clinical audit, structured case review (South African Model) and home-based interviews. The opinion of the 11 stakeholders highlighted that the methods that a facility adopts should depend on the type and number of cases the facility handles, availability and maintenance of a good documentation system, and local leadership and commitment of staff. A proposed framework for conducting near-miss reviews was developed that included a combination of criterion-based clinical audit and near-miss review methods. CONCLUSION: The approach allowed for development of a framework for researchers and planners seeking to improve quality of maternal care not only at the facility level but also beyond, encompassing community health workers and referral. Further work is needed to evaluate the implementation of this framework to determine its efficacy in improving the quality of care and hence maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Female, Humans, India, Medical Audit, Medical Errors, Morbidity, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Quality of Health Care