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IHME develops fast, affordable ways for countries to better identify causes of death in populations
Date:10/31/2011

iswa of the Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management at Makerere University School of Public Health in Uganda. "We have wanted to use verbal autopsy to bridge that gap. However, available methods are cumbersome, data collection is time consuming, and coding by physicians is not always done correctly, or there is no physician available, so these new automated methods are a real breakthrough."

"This is a major discovery and we are excited about the possibilities," said Dr. Palitha Mahipala, Additional Secretary, Medical Services at Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health. "Nothing can replace a complete and efficient vital registration system. But as countries work to implement or improve those systems, the new methods in verbal autopsy are ready now, at low cost, and with rapid results. This allows us to better understand cause of death trends and to measure program performance."

"Even in countries with vital registration systems, this is a tremendous benefit," said Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr., Secretary of Health Surveillance at Brazil's Ministry of Health. "This is a way to validate whether your death certification system is accurately classifying deaths."

The research published in the Population Health Metrics thematic series emerged from the Global Congress on Verbal Autopsy: State of the Science, held in Bali, Indonesia, in February 2011. The conference was co-sponsored by IHME, the University of Queensland School of Population Health, and Population Health Metrics to discuss important aspects of instrument design, analysis methods, and the use of verbal autopsy in national health information systems, with the goal being to take VA methods from infancy to maturity, so that countries that needed them could start using them right away.

"This body of work is by far the biggest breakthrough in years in this field," said Alan Lopez, one of the Editors-in-Chief of Population Health Metrics. "For the first time, countries will be able to
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Contact: William Heisel
wheisel@uw.edu
206-897-2886
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Source:Eurekalert

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