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Who dies of what? Strengthening CRVS systems in the Sustainable Development Goals era

Guest editor: Alan D. Lopez

In this collection, BMC Medicine presents a series of articles on progress in strengthening civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, highlighting key methodological advances, innovations and implementation experiences that have resulted in significant gains in knowledge about best practices to strengthen national CRVS systems. 

The collection includes expert Debate and Research articles, with overarching goals to:

  • Articulate recent innovations in CRVS systems-strengthening, particularly those resulting through partnerships between philanthropic organisations and research institutions, harnessing the power of research  advances in population health measurement with information technology to foster significant improvements in country cause of death data systems
  • Inform development partners and funders about key priorities for future investment in CRVS systems, notably around the need for integrated community vital events notification systems and approaches to more effectively capture the fact of death and to reliably diagnose its cause, both for deaths in hospital and elsewhere
  • Inform and inspire new scientific research, and collaboration with and within government, to build the evidence base for CRVS system-strengthening
  • Disseminate knowledge about country experiences with CRVS methods and stimulate debate about how they might be improved to ensure CRVS systems are fit for purpose, focussing on what works in strengthening CRVS practices, and what does not.

This BMC Medicine collection was developed in partnership with the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia, and draws upon experiences of countries involved in Phase 1 of the Data for Health Initiative, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Open access to all accepted articles was funded by the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.

The responsibility for all final editorial decisions was with the Chief Editor.

  1. Accurate and timely cause of death (COD) data are essential for informed public health policymaking. Medical certification of COD generally provides the majority of COD data in a population and is an essential...

    Authors: John D. Hart, Renee Sorchik, Khin Sandar Bo, Hafizur R. Chowdhury, Saman Gamage, Rohina Joshi, Viola Kwa, Hang Li, Buddhika P. K. Mahesh, Deirdre Mclaughlin, Lene Mikkelsen, Janet Miki, Roderick Napulan, Rasika Rampatige, Matthew Reeve, Carmina Sarmiento…

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:74

    Content type: Research article

    Published on:

  2. Despite attempts to apply standard methods proven to work in high-income nations, nearly all civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in low- and middle-income countries are failing to achieve ad...

    Authors: Daniel Cobos Muñoz, Don de Savigny, Renee Sorchik, Khin Sandar Bo, John Hart, Viola Kwa, Xavier Ngomituje, Nicola Richards and Alan D. Lopez

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:67

    Content type: Debate

    Published on:

  3. Globally, an estimated two-thirds of all deaths occur in the community, the majority of which are not attended by a physician and remain unregistered. Identifying and registering these deaths in civil registra...

    Authors: Tim Adair, Megha Rajasekhar, Khin Sandar Bo, John Hart, Viola Kwa, Md. Ashfaqul Amin Mukut, Matthew Reeve, Nicola Richards, Margarita Ronderos-Torres, Don de Savigny, Daniel Cobos Muñoz and Alan D. Lopez

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:65

    Content type: Debate

    Published on:

  4. The need to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to have access to reliable and timely mortality data has created a strong demand in countries for tools that can assist them in this. ANACONDA (...

    Authors: Lene Mikkelsen, Kim Moesgaard, Michael Hegnauer and Alan D. Lopez

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:61

    Content type: Research article

    Published on:

  5. The majority of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) do not have adequate civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems to properly support health policy formulation. Verbal autopsy (VA), long use...

    Authors: Riley H. Hazard, Mahesh P. K. Buddhika, John D. Hart, Hafizur R. Chowdhury, Sonja Firth, Rohina Joshi, Ferchito Avelino, Agnes Segarra, Deborah Carmina Sarmiento, Abdul Kalam Azad, Shah Ali Akbar Ashrafi, Khin Sandar Bo, Violoa Kwa and Alan D. Lopez

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:60

    Content type: Research article

    Published on:

    The Commentary to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2020 18:53

  6. Improving civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems requires strengthening the capacity of the CRVS workforce. The improvement of data collection and diagnostic practices must be accompanied by ef...

    Authors: Tim Adair, Nicola Richards, Avita Streatfield, Megha Rajasekhar, Deirdre McLaughlin and Alan D. Lopez

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:46

    Content type: Debate

    Published on: