What is a modifiable factor?

A modifiable (avoidable) factor is a missed opportunity for good care or an example of substandard care which probably lead to the child’s death. No measles immunisation would be a missed opportunity in a 2-year-old child who died of measles, while failure to give adequate rehydration at a clinic would be substandard care in a child who died of acute diarrhoea.

Modifiable factors include all missed opportunities for good care and any substandard care which probably resulted in the death.

Identifying modifiable factors is an important step in planning health care strategy and correcting problems which lead to poor care and deaths. It is important to decide whether each death is probably avoidable or not. The identification of modifiable factors enables problem solving.

It is important to decide whether a death could probably have been avoided.

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