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Coding causes of death to statistical categories

Nonstandard death certificates

Many countries are using an obsolete medical certificate of death that is not in compliance with current WHO recommendations. These certificates often include only three lines in Part 1 instead of four; or do not include space to record the duration of each condition. 

Certificates that do not follow international best practice often lack areas to enter information on pregnancy status in women, external causes and surgical procedures. Furthermore, the certificates used are typically not designed for manual coding of causes of death, as there is no space allocated to record ICD-10 codes for each condition and no way to record the tentative and final UCOD. 

Not only are these elements crucial in identifying the correct UCOD, they must be considered when the country opts to use Iris, an automated coding system. Nonstandard death certificates also make international comparisons difficult, if not impossible. 

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