What is CRVS and why does every country need it?
Births and deaths are registered and monitored as they occur, so that timely statistics can be produced on a continuous and real-time basis. By contrast, household surveys generate data on births and deaths only on an occasional basis (generally at 3 to 5-year intervals). Moreover, the indirect methods used to generate fertility and mortality indicators have a time lag, sometimes amounting to up to 3–4 years in the past.
For example, 15 European countries share their CRVS data on deaths for mortality surveillance. Weekly reports of deaths according to age and sex are published within 1 to 2 weeks of occurrence. This permits health decision makers to highlight unusual patterns of mortality, often due to climate conditions, notably extreme heat or cold. Although there are always seasonal variations in numbers of deaths, in certain cases the increases are significant, for example due to the emergence of a particularly virulent form of influenza virus or to influenza vaccines that perform less well than is usually the case. See week 35 of 2016 in the diagram below for an example of CRVS data revealing an unusual mortality event.
Mortality monitoring in Europe