Validation of the Verbal Autopsy Questionnaire for Identifying Maternal Deaths in Pakistan

Farid Midhet, University of California, Berkeley
Nap Hosang, University of California, Berkeley

This study was carried out in Pakistan to validate the verbal autopsy (VA) questionnaire used by the Demographic and Health Survey, 2007. The VA questionnaire was assessed for identifying the category of death (maternal or non-maternal). First, 110 deaths of women in the 15-49 years age group occurring in two tertiary care hospitals during the last one year were identified. Trained interviewers conducted the VA interviews with families of the 110 deceased women. Completed VA questionnaires were reviewed by a panel of obstetricians, who assigned the category and cause of death. The cause of death assigned by the hospital was regarded as the gold standard. The VA questionnaire had 86% sensitivity for identifying maternal deaths; its specificity and positive and negative predictive values were 94%, 78% and 95%, respectively. The study shows that VA questionnaires used in population based surveys can identify maternal deaths with reasonable accuracy.

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Presented in Poster Session 2