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'40 million deaths a year go unrecorded'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Washington, May 12: Two in three deaths or 40 million people go unreported and one in three births - another 40 million people - go unregistered globally, a group of leading epidemiologists revealed. The solution lies in tapping the growing smartphone technology for accurate data collection that could crack the problem as mobile phones are now common virtually everywhere, they suggested. In a series of papers that appeared in the prestigious jourl The Lancet, professor Alan Lopez from University of Melbourne argued that accurately recording birth registration and cause of death is vitally important to leaders around the world. “To put this in perspective, 140 countries or 80 percent of the world’s population — do not have reliable cause of death statistics,” said Lopez, one of the series lead authors. He led a global campaign to improve how countries capture civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). The four-paper Lancet series promote the case to change CRVS systems to collect more reliable and timely data.

“Policy should be informed by accurate and timely data. Poor quality data equals poor decisions which, in turn, leads to lost opportunities to improve population health,” Lopez added. In remote areas where there are no doctors, CRVS improvements could include family members of deceased responding to a limited number of questions about symptoms experienced by the deceased which can be alysed to record a most-likely cause of death. “In many cases, an algorithm can record cause of death more accurately than a physician,” he noted. (IANS)

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