The controversial research reporting unexpected gains in maternal health, published April 12 in the Lancet, has triggered rigorous debate about the measurement tools used to count maternal deaths globally and at a country level. The paper, Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5, was written by Chris Murray and his team of researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Some global health leaders are celebrating the global progress toward MDG5 indicated by the research. Some are expressing cautious optimism. Others are challenging the paper’s methodology, asking whether it really signals big gains in the struggle against global maternal mortality or just flawed means of estimating how many women are dying.
On June 5th, the Lancet published a reply from Chris Murray in which he addresses some of the concerns voiced by his fellow global health researchers regarding the methodology of the study.
For more on this topic, take a look at a recent post, New Maternal Mortality Estimates Published in the Lancet: What’s the Buzz?, on our new MedScape Blog, GlobalMama.