Community surveillance and response to maternal and child deaths in low- and middle-income countries: A scoping review.
Basera TJ., Schmitz K., Price J., Willcox M., Bosire EN., Ajuwon A., Mbule M., Ronan A., Burtt F., Scheepers E., Igumbor J.
BACKGROUND: Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems do not produce comprehensive data on maternal and child deaths in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with most births and deaths which occur outside the formal health system going unreported. Community-based death reporting, investigation and review processes are being used in these settings to augment official registration of maternal and child deaths and to identify death-specific factors and associated barriers to maternal and childcare. This study aims to review how community-based maternal and child death reporting, investigation and review processes are carried out in LMICs. METHODS: We conducted a scoping review of the literature published in English from January 2013 to November 2020, searching PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Joanna Briggs, The Cochrane Library, EBM reviews, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. We used descriptive analysis to outline the scope, design, and distribution of literature included in the study and to present the content extracted from each article. The scoping review is reported following the PRISMA reporting guideline for systematic reviews. RESULTS: Of 3162 screened articles, 43 articles that described community-based maternal and child death review processes across ten countries in Africa and Asia were included. A variety of approaches were used to report and investigate deaths in the community, including identification of deaths by community health workers (CHWs) and other community informants, reproductive age mortality surveys, verbal autopsy, and social autopsy. Community notification of deaths by CHWs complements registration of maternal and child deaths missed by routinely collected sources of information, including the CRVS systems which mostly capture deaths occurring in health facilities. However, the accuracy and completeness of data reported by CHWs are sub-optimal. CONCLUSIONS: Community-based death reporting complements formal registration of maternal and child deaths in LMICs. While research shows that community-based maternal and child death reporting was feasible, the accuracy and completeness of data reported by CHWs are sub-optimal but amenable to targeted support and supervision. Studies to further improve the process of engaging communities in the review, as well as collection and investigation of deaths in LMICs, could empower communities to respond more effectively and have a greater impact on reducing maternal and child mortality.