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Measuring cause-specific mortality burden in low-income countries: Experiences from a feasibility study of a post-census mortality survey using verbal autopsy

Robert G. Mswia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Elisio Mazive, National Institute of Statistics, Mozambique
Pedro B Duce, Instituto Nacional de Estatística - Mozambique
Dan Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Philip W Setel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Yusuf Hemed, National Institute of Statistics, Mozambique
David R Whiting, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Loraine A. West, U.S. Census Bureau
Dennis J Donahue, U.S. Census Bureau
Peter Young, National Institute of Statistics, Mozambique
Kimberly Marsh, CDC Mozambique

Mortality statistics are essential for measuring population health and well-being. However, there continues to be a paucity of reliable information, particularly on causes of death for the vast majority of low income countries. For countries with limited or no vital registration systems, national censuses present a unique opportunity to create a wealth of nationally representative cause-specific mortality statistics through the use of verbal autopsy methodologies. This paper presents results of a feasibility study for this type of post-census cause-specific mortality survey conducted in 2006 in Mozambique. A sub-sample of four pilot sites was selected from the pilot census purposive sample. All households within the four test sites that reported deaths in the past 12 months during the Mozambican October 2006 pilot census were selected for follow-up verbal autopsy interviews. Selected indicators and results from the pilot study are presented, including a discussion on the challenges, lessons learnt and key recommendations.

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Presented in Session 68: Understanding health and population dynamics through longitudinal demographic surveillance systems