Results of Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy to Improve Malawi’s Health Programs


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Author(s): MEASURE Evaluation

Year: 2018

Results of Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy to Improve Malawi’s Health Programs Abstract:

Vital statistics serve as an important data source for both government and nongovernmental entities to plan health programs. Specifically, measurement of causes of death are essential to understanding the health of a nation and where greater resources are needed to ensure that services prevent avoidable deaths. Measuring trends in cause of death helps countries like Malawi recognize the successes, failures, and opportunities related to health policies and initiatives.

Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy (SAVVY) can serve as a key source of vital statistics. SAVVY collects data on demographic and health indicators that can be used for planning, implementing, and evaluating policies and programs that are effective, equitable, and beneficial to reduce the burden of disease.

The objective of SAVVY in Malawi is to provide nationally representative estimates of age- and sex-disaggregated cause-specific mortality fractions. It relies on community-based data to capture both hospital- and community-based deaths. SAVVY is designed to collect reliable and timely data that illuminate current mortality issues to inform policies, programs, and monitoring and evaluation of health programs. In the Malawi context, objectives also included creating awareness of vital statistics, contributing to the development of the vital statistics program, and building capacity within the Government of Malawi to implement mortality surveillance. The baseline survey for SAVVY was implemented by the National Statistical Office (NSO) and the Central Monitoring and Evaluation Division (CMED) of the Ministry of Health (MOH), with technical assistance from the United States Census Bureau and the United States Agency for International Development- and United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded MEASURE Evaluation. Funding for this work came from PEPFAR. 

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