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The value of cause of death data

Medical certification of cause of death

Coding causes of death to statistical categories
The International Classification of Diseases

Cause of death: where there is no physician
Verbal autopsy diagnostic algorithms

Automated verbal autopsy
What is automated verbal autopsy and how does it differ from medical certification of cause of death?

Incorporating verbal autopsy into the civil registration and vital statistics system

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Medical certification of cause of death

Case study: Understanding the underlying cause of death

A 50-year-old woman was admitted to hospital vomiting blood and was diagnosed as having bleeding oesophageal varices. Investigations revealed portal hypertension. The woman had liver cirrhosis, due to hepatitis B. Three days later, she died. The figure below outlines the chain (or sequence) of events that led to her death.

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It is very important that the UCOD is correctly determined and accurately recorded for each death, since this is the information that determines the importance and urgency of prevention strategies. In this case, bleeding oesophageal varices was the immediate (or direct) COD and hepatitis B was the UCOD. Therefore, the critical message for public health is to prevent infection with the hepatitis B virus. 
 
Knowing this, the public health response is to implement immunisation programs against the hepatitis B virus to prevent such deaths in the future.

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