Checking the accuracy of vital events records
Safeguarding data and confidentiality
Data collection activities that depend on individuals voluntarily providing personal information – such as civil registration – must have the trust of respondents to ensure its continued cooperation. Ensuring confidentiality is the key to maintaining that trust. This is particularly important for CRVS systems, which collect microdata on the life events of individuals.
There are many effective ways of safeguarding confidentiality, and provided that appropriate measures are taken, microdata confidentiality requirements need not impede the sharing and dissemination of compiled vital statistics. However, at the collection level, there should already be national protocols and codes of practice concerning confidentiality of the data. This includes issues such as who can legally report the data and who can have access to the record once registered.
Clear SOPs should show how the registration records containing personal information can be shared and stored, ensuring that data remain anonymous to safeguard sensitive health information. If data originate in the health sector, personal information should be removed before it is shared with outside parties, to ensure confidentiality.
United Nations (2007). Managing statistical confidentiality & microdata access: principles and guidelines of good practice. Economic Commission for Europe Conference of European Statisticians.