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EPIDEMIOLOGY & PUBLIC HEALTH

Outlining the impact of health policies and other determinants on maternal-fetal health and fertility

One of the most productive research programs lead by MELISA in the area of ​​epidemiology is related to the so-called ‘Evidence-Based Public Health’ on issues such as health policies and other determinants of maternal health.

The program is based on the construction, maintenance and utilization of large data sets related to vital, demographic, health, economic and social statistics, which are used in a population-based natural experiment design. The set of study designs and robust statistical techniques guarantee high quality publications in terms of scientific rigor, transparency and reproducibility

EVIDENCE-BASED PUBLIC POLICY

One of MELISA Institute’s projects has been to assess the most important determinants of maternal mortality in different Latin American countries and their relationship to abortion laws. In Mexico, extensive research was carried out in this area, which led to some evidence-based proposals to improve women’s health and reduce maternal mortality in different states of Mexico.

 

WHICH ARE THE NATURAL EXPERIMENTS?

These are investigations in the population that study the impact of a variable in the community where the epidemiologist or researcher has no control over the variables studied, nor over the populations exposed or not exposed to a certain risk factor or protective factor.

When it is not possible to experiment directly with the population, as is the case with public policies or factors to which groups or entire populations are globally exposed, a “natural population experiment” design is used.

THE PHENOMENON OF MATERNITY AGING

In Chile, we are evaluating the postponement of maternity in primiparous women and their relationship with public health policies applied in this country in the 1960s. This study seeks to feature the first entry into motherhood throughout sixty (60) years of uninterrupted vital records. Because of its importance in maternal health, a research grant was awarded from the National Fund for Research (FONIS-CONICYT) and also an international academic collaboration.

 

QUALITY OF MATERNAL MORTALITY REGISTRY IN ARGENTINA

Another study, conducted by our Director and in collaboration with local researchers, evaluates the quality of the maternal mortality registry in Argentina for the pursuit of natural population experiments in the last 40 years. Based on the international coding of diseases (ICD), we are assessing the sensitivity of the registry to detect changes in specific groups of causes of maternal deaths in the face of an epidemic, as well as the identification of predictive factors of maternal death, using multiple and advanced statistical techniques.