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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


PAZ BALLIVIAN, Marcos  and  MURILLO-CAMBEROS, Alberto de la Gálvez. Using indicators to identify regions with critical maternal health conditions. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.12, n.1, pp.5-10. ISSN 1680-5348.

Objective. In early 2000 the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Bolivia brought together a group of experts who, using available information, developed a method that made it possible to identify critical maternal and neonatal health sections of the country and to create a map of the health situation and of the existing health-services capacity in the 112 provinces of Bolivia. The objective of this piece is to describe the method that those experts created and applied. Methods. Two indices were created, one for the health situation and the other for the existing health-services capacity. The steps followed in this process were: 1) identifying the variables included in each index, 2) weighting the variables in each index, 3) creating a mathematical formula for each index, 4) preparing a list with the data from each province for the chosen variables and with the percentage for each province for each index, obtained by using the respective formula, 5) setting three continuous-data categories for each index, and 6) defining the taxonomy that was possible by combining the results of the two indices. Results. Applying this approach, a national map of the maternal health situation and of the existing capacity in each of the 112 Bolivian provinces was developed. This made it possible to choose a small number of provinces where the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare could work with other institutions to carry out joint interventions. The 9 selected provinces have a total of 26 municipalities, which include 17 health districts and which have 29% of the population of the country, 33% of the maternal deaths, and an estimated 35% of the early neonatal deaths. Conclusions. Using available information, this method generated a map of the overall maternal health situation in the 112 provinces of Bolivia and made it possible to identify critical geographical areas for health interventions.

Keywords : Salud materna; salud neonatal; capacidad instalada; índices de la situación de salud.

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