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Scandal of invisibility plagues countries with no civil registries
Date:10/29/2007

tuberculosis and malaria. Until civil registration systems can be rebuilt, Setel said, other cost-effective interim measures must be taken.

Taking action now, says The Lancets editor Richard Horton, is nothing more than a test of our humanity.

Setel is also deputy director of the MEASURE Evaluation (Monitoring and Evaluation to Access and Use Results) Project at UNCs Carolina Population Center. The project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), works with government ministries, institutions and communities around the world to strengthen each countrys ability to collect and use health data.

National authorities in Mozambique, for example, are conducting the worlds first post-census mortality survey using methods developed by MEASURE Evaluation and the U.S. Census Bureau. This cost-effective system, called Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy, or SAVVY, can provide an ongoing source of data on mortality and causes of death for countries in which they have never previously existed.

The SAVVY methods also can be used with other data collection activities. Mozambiques 2007 national census collected information on deaths within the last 12 months. Workers trained through SAVVY are currently are conducting a verbal autopsy, contacting people in these households, asking about signs and symptoms the deceased displayed before death with the hope that a reasonable cause of death can be determined.

When the survey is complete, Mozambique will know, for example, how many AIDS, malaria and maternal deaths occurred in the last year. This information will not only become the basis of national mortality statistics to be reported internationally, but will be used in benchmarking health Millennium Development Goals; serve as baselines for AIDS and malaria mortality early on in the massive scale-up of interventions; and allow Mozambique to produce an atlas of preventable mortality at the provincial level
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Contact: Clinton Colmenares
clinton_colmenares@unc.edu
919-843-1991
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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