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Arizona Health Officials Want Public Input On Tracking Pregnancy-Related Deaths

New moms in the United States die at higher rates than anywhere else in the developed world. Now the Arizona Department of Health Services is trying to improve the way information about these deaths is collected. 

In Arizona, an estimated 20 women die for every 100,000 live births — and 89% of those deaths are preventable, according to DHS.

Last week, the advisory committee tasked with improving how information is gathered on pregnancy-related deaths met once again — this time to share draft recommendations with the public.

Sheila Sjolander, with DHS, says one recommendation would improve the timeliness of maternal death information.

"So, this is really addressing a challenge that we face with how long it can take to get death records and to get the final information from medical examiners so we know which cases to look at," she said.

Sjolander says the public has  until Friday to comment on the recommendations.

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KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.