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Measuring maternal and child health

1. Birth rate – number of birth per 1000 population

2. Fertility rate – the number of pregnancies per 1000 women of childbearing age
o Tends to be low in countries where there are fewer nutritional resources because poor
nutrition makes conceiving difficult; as well as in countries where the proportion of
young adult men is low because of war or disease
o Tends to be high in countries where the average woman has access to good nutrition
and feels safe to begin family
3. Fetal death rate – the number of fetal deaths over 500g per 1000 live births
o Is important in evaluating the health of a nation because it reflects the overall quality of
maternal health and whether common services such as prenatal care is available.
4. Neonatal death rate – the number of deaths per 1000 live births occurring at birth or in the 1st
28 days
o This rate reflects not only the quality of care available to women during pregnancy and
childbirth but also the quality of care available to infants during the 1st month of life
o Leading causes of death: prematurity with associated LBW or congenital malformations,
maternal complications of pregnancy, SIDS and injuries
5. Perinatal death – the number of deaths during the perinatal time period (beginning when a
fetus reaches 500g about week 20 of pregnancy and ending about 4 to 6 weeks after birth); it is
the sum of fetal and neonatal rates
6. Maternal mortality rate – the number of maternal deaths per 100, 000 live births that occur as a
direct result of the reproductive process
7. Infant mortality rate – the number of deaths per 1000 live births or in the 1st 12 months of life
o Reflects a good index of country’s general health because it measures the quality of
pregnancy care, overall nutrition, and sanitation, as well as infants health and available
8. Child mortality rate – the number of deaths per 1000 population in children aged 1 to 14 years
o Please refer to Box 1.5 on page 14 of your reference book for the Major causes of death
in childhood
o Under 1 year: congenital malformations ad chromosomal abnormalities; SIDS
o 1 to 4 years: accidents, congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities,
homicide, malignant neoplasms, diseases of the heart
o 5 to 9 years: same as 1 to 4 years
o 10 to 14 years: same as above