Verbal Autopsy Standards
Ascertaining and Attributing Cause of Death
- World Health Organization (WHO)
The dearth of reliable data on the levels and causes of mortality in poorer regions of the world continues to plague efforts to build a solid evidence base for health policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation. As a partial solution to this problem, verbal autopsy has become the primary source of information about causes of death in populations lacking vital registration and medical certification.
The purpose of this manual is to disseminate new standard data collection and cause-of-death assignment resources for verbal autopsy, and to provide some general guidelines for their use. The manual includes verbal autopsy questionnaires for three age groups, cause-of-death certification and coding guidelines for applying the International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD-10) to verbal autopsy and a cause-of-death list for verbal autopsy with corresponding ICD-10 codes.
These resources are the consensus products of a three-year effort by an expert group led by WHO, consisting of researchers, data users, and other stakeholders under the sponsorship of the Health Metrics Network. They are intended to serve the needs of various users and producers of mortality information, including researchers, policy-makers, programme managers, and evaluators.
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