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This paper describes a new indirect technique for deriving population-based estimates of maternal mortality. The technique, called the "sisterhood method," is relevant to developing countries where the alternative data sources and approaches to estimation are often inadequate and inappropriate. The sisterhood method uses the proportions of adult sisters dying during pregnancy, childbirth, or the puerperium reported by adults during a census or survey, to derive a variety of indicators of maternal mortality. The first field trial of the method was carried out in the North Bank Division of The Gambia, West Africa, in 1987. The results indicate a lifetime risk of maternal mortality of 0.0584, or 1 in 17, approximating a maternal mortality ratio of 1,005 per 100,000 live births, which is consistent with previous estimates for this region.


Journal article


Stud Fam Plann

Publication Date





125 - 135


Data Collection, Developing Countries, Epidemiologic Methods, Female, Gambia, Humans, Maternal Mortality, Pregnancy