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OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of establishing a simple maternal morbidity surveillance system in Assam (Indian Obstetric Surveillance System-Assam (IndOSS-Assam)) to investigate the incidence and trends in severe maternal complications. This study presents the surveillance platform of IndOSS-Assam. DESIGN: Four tasks were undertaken: (1) setting up of a steering committee; (2) establishing priorities for the region; (3) mapping of surveillance sites; (4) piloting case-notification systems in selected centres. SETTING: Two government tertiary hospitals in the state. STUDY POPULATION: Pregnant women delivering in the hospitals between March and August 2015. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence and case fatality rates with 95% CIs. RESULTS: Local stakeholder ownership and a simple uncomplicated anonymous system for case notification were the key strengths of this project. Cases and deaths were reported for six conditions: eclampsia, postpartum haemorrhage, puerperal sepsis, septic abortion, uterine rupture and anaemic heart failure. Among 10 475 women delivering over 6 months, 402 had one of these conditions and 66 died (case fatality 16%). The incidence of eclampsia was 17 per 1000 deliveries (95% CI 14 to 19), postpartum haemorrhage was 11 per 1000 deliveries (95% CI 10 to 13) and anaemic heart failure was 3 per 1000 deliveries (95% CI 2 to 5). For each of the other three conditions-puerperal sepsis, septic abortion and uterine rupture-the incidence rate was 2 per 1000 deliveries. CONCLUSIONS: IndOSS-Assam was shown to be a feasible and simple system for ongoing surveillance of maternal morbidity that can be used to monitor the trends in the incidence of specific severe life-threatening conditions during pregnancy.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Glob Health

Publication Date