Over a recent 10 year period (2008–2017), the MCDR program identified 91 pregnancy-associated deaths to Alaska residents (80.8 per 100,000 live births), ranging from 5–12 deaths per year. The Committee classified 16 deaths during this time period as pregnancy-related, corresponding to a mortality rate of 14.2 per 100,000 live births. The MCDR Committee found that 85% of the pregnancy-associated deaths during 2012-2017 were potentially preventable. Given these figures, increased efforts to ensure timely and complete data collection and reporting are necessary in order to evaluate and assess current and emerging prevention and intervention efforts.
Since the early 1990s, Alaska has conducted statewide maternal mortality reviews through the Alaska Maternal Child Death Review (MCDR) program, located in the Alaska Division of Public Health, Section of Women’s, Children’s, and Family Health. The MCDR program currently identifies and reviews all maternal, infant, and child deaths in Alaska with a purpose of developing and disseminating statewide public health recommendations that would directly impact the reduction of mortality in these populations. The purpose of this application is to improve and enhance the surveillance system processes for identifying and characterizing maternal deaths for prevention. These improvements include: 1) Improved ascertainment of all pregnancy-associated deaths. 2) Standardized clinical and non-clinical data abstracted into the MMRIA data system 3) Improved data quality and timeliness using quality assurance processes. 4) Increased analysis and dissemination of data to inform practice and policy changes and maternal mortality prevented.
By the end of the project period, the state of Alaska will have improved its practices related to collection of comprehensive and timely information about deaths of women during pregnancy and the year after the end of pregnancy, including documented opportunities for prevention. Furthermore, in conjunction with the Alaska Hospital and Nursing Home Association, the Alaska Perinatal Quality Collaborative, and other important partners, MCDR will support data-driven best practices and policies to reduce or prevent maternal morbidity and mortality. By improving, enhancing, and expanding mortality review practices and adopting data-informed strategies at the state and in birthing facilities, the incidence of maternal deaths in Alaska will be reduced in the long term. Participation in the MMRIA system will not only improve Alaska’s ability to develop comprehensive prevention efforts, but also contribute a diverse set of data from a state with a large Asian Pacific Islander and Alaska Native population.