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The Ten CRVS milestones framework

Inconsistencies between registration records and compiled statistics

Different types of errors and inconsistencies can occur between the registration of a vital event and the generation of vital statistics. For example, errors can arise from underreporting and overreporting. Overreporting can occur when a vital event is noted as a delayed registration without checks being carried out to ensure that it has not already been previously registered. In other cases, re-registration occurs because the initial registration papers cannot be traced – possibly because registration occurred in another area and there is no centralised storage of records, or because of archiving problems. Avoiding duplication of registration requires a well-managed computerised central register, and effective archiving, checking and retrieval procedures.

Registered events are more commonly under-reported than over-reported. This will be reflected in data showing that the annual number of registrations is higher than the figure presented in vital statistics reports. Under-reporting can result from:

  • No reporting or transfer of the information from civil registration agencies to the vital statistics system
  • Delayed registrations being treated differently from timely registrations, and not being transferred to the vital statistics system
  • Failure to transmit information that arrived after a scheduled transmission period
  • Failure to transmit information on coronial cases once they have been resolved and returned to the civil registration system.

The best way of reducing under-reporting at the community level is to introduce incentives for people to register. Under-reporting can also be reduced by introducing an audit system that clearly outlines the responsibilities for logging all registration events sent to the vital statistics system, and for recording what is received.

Read more

Health Information Systems Knowledge Hub and World Health Organization (2012). Strengthening civil registration and vital statistics for births, deaths and causes of death: Resource kit. World Health Organization, Geneva.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2014). Principles and recommendations for a vital statistics system, Revision 3, United Nations, New York.

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