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Coding causes of death to statistical categories

Common issues and challenges in mortality coding

Mortality statistics are increasingly being used for epidemiological surveillance, health services planning and policy development, and program monitoring. This has placed a renewed emphasis on the quality of coding. 

Accurate coding and correct selection of the UCOD according to ICD rules and procedures is a specialised task that requires training and skills development. Commonly encountered problems in mortality coding are related to:

  • Poor certification practices
  • Insufficient information
  • Use of nonstandard death certificates
  • Inadequate number of coders, lack of coder qualifications and training
  • Limited access to resources.

Each of these issues is discussed in more detail in the following sections.


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