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Tabulation and generation of vital statistics for national policy

Principles for data tabulation

Irrespective of the agency that manages the vital statistics database, there are certain basic principles that should be followed when tabulating the data; some of the key ones are outlined below.

The most important principle is that the data should always be stored at the most detailed level, so that different tabulations and groupings can be made to suit different purposes. For instance, the underlying cause of death data (Cause of death in CRVS) should be stored with the most detailed disaggregation used of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) disaggregation level used.

For each sex the age at death should be stored using the exact recorded age and tabulated using the following age groupings:

  • Within the first 24 hours after birth (<24 hours)
  • Between 1 and 7 days after birth
  • Between 8 and 27 days after birth
  • Between 1 month (28 days) and 11 months after birth
  • Thereafter by single-year age groups.

From this level of detail, the data can then be tabulated into broader age groups, leading causes and appropriate subnational levels.

For births, the data input into the database should at minimum be live births by age of mother, sex of child, birth order, birth weight (if collected), place of birth, attendant at birth, and usual residence of the mother. Twins and other births of multiples should each be stored as their own individual record.

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