Saman rolls out training to four countries in three months

Meet Dr Saman Gamage, one of the Technical Advisers for the Data for Health (D4H) initiative at the University of Melbourne. 
Saman has been working for the D4H initiative since August 2016 but was in early collaboration since its conception in 2015. Part of his role in strengthening CRVS systems is to train participants across the globe in best practice death certification and mortality coding. Participants range from intern doctors to master trainers.


Since July 2019, Saman has rolled out training to Myanmar, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, including but not limited to the following areas: 

· Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCOD)
· International Classification of Disease (ICD) mortality coding
· ICD mortality coding quality assessment
· Iris ICD coding tool

MCCOD in Myanmar

“Education and training to improve death certification practices among physicians will be fundamental for countries seeking high-quality mortality statistics.”

In late August, Saman trained 100 doctors on MCCOD from 41 medical institutions across 41 townships in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.


On completion of the course the doctors were able to:

· Explain the importance of correct MCCOD their role in producing reliable Cause of Death (COD) statistics for a country.

· Describe the concept of underlying cause of death (UCOD) and the sequence of events leading to death.

· Correctly complete the MCCOD International Form

· Demonstrate the skills needed to conduct workshops that train doctors on correct death certification practices.

Saman tested the participants on completing the MCCOD form before and after the course. Their results below:


The next day he ran a course on ICD mortality coding and quality assessment for 22 mortality coders from the Central Statistical Office of Myanmar.


ICD-10 Mortality Coding in the Solomon Islands

“Poor coding practices detract from the usability of COD data and waste resources.”

In early September Saman, amongst other UoM D4H technical advisers, traveled to Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

Here, Saman trained six mortality coders on best practice ICD mortality coding. He also introduced Medical Mortality Data System (MMDS) mortality decision tables.

“MMDS mortality decision tables are also useful for assisting coders to understand causal relationships and applying mortality coding rules in manual coding. Using MMDS decision tables ensures consistent application of the selection and modification rules across jurisdictions and assists with the provision of comparable cause of death data nationally and internationally.” 

By the end of the course the mortality coders were able to:

• Understand and use basic ICD-10 coding conventions
• Interpret and apply World Health Organization rules for mortality coding
• Use MMDS mortality decision tables to apply mortality coding rules and select underlying cause of death.

Participants gave very positive feedback and demonstrated a clear understanding of ICD-10 mortality coding and MMDS mortality decision tables. 


Courses like those delivered by Saman are at the heart of ensuring best practice CRVS processes are properly adopted.


For more information on the courses mentioned in this article, follow the link below:

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