Federal Minister for Health to launch Australia’s first national maternity surveillance system

Australia is one of the safest places to give birth, yet women continue to suffer serious illness as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. A new national initiative led by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) aims to improve the understanding of rare and severe conditions in pregnancy.

The Australasian Maternity Outcomes Surveillance System (AMOSS) will be launched by the Federal Minister for Health Nicola Roxon today (Wednesday 24 June).

The Australia-first system will work with more than 150 maternity units to collect data on selected severe obstetric conditions and interventions, including eclampsia, amniotic fluid embolism, antenatal pulmonary embolism, morbid obesity, severe haemorrhage and emergency post-partum hysterectomy. 

Until now, there has been no national system to investigate these conditions and their burden on the community and health sector.

AMOSS is based at the Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology Research Unit (PRERU) at UNSW, and is funded by a five year National Health and Medical Research Council project grant.

"These illnesses or conditions are rare. Individual maternity units need to be prepared but have little opportunity to develop expertise or an improved understanding of the conditions or their management," said Director of PRERU at UNSW, Associate Professor Elizabeth Sullivan.

"AMOSS will provide evidence-based information to give more insight into risk factors, management and possible means of prevention."

The information would also be used to inform further national research, improve clinical guidelines and education resources and influence policy development, A/Prof Sullivan said.

The AMOSS objectives are closely aligned to the first recommendation from the Maternity Services Review report Improving Maternity Services in Australia, which urged improved national data collection on maternal morbidity.

AMOSS was developed in partnership with the Australian College of Midwives, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Women's Hospitals Australasia.

What: Launch of the Australian Maternity Outcomes Surveillance System (AMOSS), with Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon.
When: Wednesday, 24th June 2009 at 11.10am
Where: The Senate Alcove, Parliament House, Canberra

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