Criteria for assigning cause of death for stillbirths and neonatal deaths in research studies in low-middle income countries

Robert L. Goldenberg, Lulu Muhe, Sarah Saleem, Sangappa Dhaded, Shivaprasad S. Goudar, Janna Patterson, Assaye Nigussie, Elizabeth M. McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Accurate knowledge regarding cause of death (COD) for stillbirths and neonatal deaths is crucial, especially in low-income countries, in order for public health and medical officials to choose appropriate interventions likely to reduce these deaths. To date, many of the COD studies in these areas have relied only on obstetric or neonatal clinical information and the determination of COD is likely to be inaccurate. Information related to infectious COD is especially lacking. Thus, without more sophisticated testing, data as currently collected only provide a very weak approximation of the COD and may well lead to adoption of interventions of limited usefulness. In this commentary, we propose recommendations regarding the type of data needed to determine with reasonable accuracy the COD for stillbirths and neonatal deaths in low-resource settings. Using these data, and a method to determine the degree of certainty, we then propose definitions for the most common COD. Our goal is to reduce subjectivity and provide more specificity for the tests used in existing classification systems so that the methodology of COD determination is transparent and able to be replicated over time and from location to location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1915-1923
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Volume32
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Neonatal mortality
  • autopsy
  • cause of death
  • low/middle-income countries
  • minimum invasive tissue sampling
  • stillbirth

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