Most maternal deaths are preventable. In order to end preventable maternal deaths, accurate information on how many women died, where they died and how they died is essential, but is currently inadequate. Maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR) contributes to better information for action by promoting routine identification and timely notification of maternal deaths, review of maternal deaths, implementation and monitoring of steps to prevent similar deaths in the future.

This document provides technical guidance to health care professionals, health care planners and managers working towards improving maternal health, and complements WHO’s 2004 publication “Beyond the Numbers”.