Though we focus on maternal mortality and maternal death, in many settings, 'near misses' are equally important as both a public health concept and a human rights issue. The 'near miss' in obstetrics refers to a woman who was critically ill and would have died had it not been for care. Severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM) in low-income countries.
Put another way, in looking at the health system, it is important to identify what factors led to death, and what factors helped narrowly avert death. In assessing the efficacy of a safe motherhood system, policymakers must look at the prevalence of near misses-- a decrease in the number of maternal deaths accompanied by an increase in severe acute maternal morbidity is of concern.