Sexual and reproductive health

WHO multicountry survey on maternal and newborn health 2010-2012

About the study

This study suggests that to achieve a substantial reduction in maternal mortality, a comprehensive approach to emergency care, and overall improvements in the quality of maternal health care will be needed.


WHO conducted the largest study to date assessing severe complications and ‘near misses’ in pregnancy. The WHO Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health found that ‘essential interventions’ – simple treatments which are indispensable for effective maternal care, such as providing uterotonics for preventing postpartum haemorrhage, or magnesium sulphate for eclampsia – do not necessarily reduce maternal mortality in health care facilities which provide them.

The study examined data from more than 300 000 women attending 359 health care facilities in 29 countries and determined how many pregnant women had a severe maternal outcome (defined as either maternal death or a near miss), as well as the coverage of essential interventions in the health care facilities studied.

Journal articles

Methodology and tools

Maternal severity index (MSI) calculator

This simple calculator is designed to facilitate the use of the Maternal Severity Index (MSI). Just tick the conditions present in clinical cases and obtain the MSI. This is a useful tool for health services benchmarking and research.

Participating countries and territories (29)

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Brazil Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, India, Japan, Jordan Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, Viet Nam.

World map