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Infant, Child, and Maternal Health and Mortality

Michelle J. Hindin and Britta Mullany


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of “complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The health status of a population, including that of infants, children, and mothers, has traditionally been summarized via mortality. An infant death is defined as a death under the age of 1; the standard indicator used to measure infant death is the “infant mortality rate,” equal to the number of infant deaths under the age of 1 per 1,000 live births in a given year. A child death is a death of a child under the age of 5; the “under-5 mortality rate” refers to the number of deaths of children under age 5 per 1,000 live births in a given year. Given the multiple periods of risk related to a pregnancy, the definition of maternal mortality is more complex. A maternal death is one which occurs while “pregnant or within 42 days of the termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes” ( WHO 1948 ). The “maternal mortality ratio” is the most frequently used indicator to measure maternal deaths and is defined as the number of women who die as a result of complications of pregnancy or childbearing in a given year per 100,000 live births in that year. The death of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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