Editorials

Preventing child deaths

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39576.499907.80 (Published 15 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1083
  1. Jane Freemantle, associate professor1,
  2. Anne Read, honorary research fellow2
  1. 1Centre for Health and Society, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
  2. 2Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, PO Box 855, West Perth, WA 6872, Australia
  1. j.freemantle{at}unimelb.edu.au

    New report emphasises the need to review the circumstances of death

    There is no question that preventing child mortality should be a priority for all, and this is indeed so in the United Kingdom.1 With this objective, the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) has recently conducted a comprehensive review of the deaths of all children aged from 28 days to 17 years and 364 days in Wales, Northern Ireland, and three regions of England (South West, North East, and Midlands).2 This review pre-empts the mandatory review of all child deaths by local safeguarding children boards in England from 1 April 2008.

    The aims of the review were to identify and collect core data on all deaths in the five targeted CEMACH regions for the calendar year 2006, to review a subset of these deaths with a focus on identifying avoidable factors, and to consider a national application of the methods. The review undertook a quantitative analysis of a core sample of 957 child deaths. A subset of 126 deaths was selected for closer scrutiny by a series of 41 multidisciplinary panels. These panels were a crucial and critical component of the review process.

    The success of the review was dependent on the collaboration of …

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