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The Ten CRVS milestones framework

Storage and archiving


Storage and archiving is the activities where all or part of the information captured about the vital event is stored digitally or as a hard copy (paper based).


Civil registration systems must be able to store, file, abstract, archive and retrieve records. The way in which data are initially collected has implications for all these activities. Records of vital events can be kept several ways, including in ledgers or book registers, in card registers and as electronic records. Although paper-based systems require more space than electronic systems, many countries have become adept at storing and managing paper-based archives securely. In other settings, however, there are overflowing storerooms filled with paperwork that is never sorted or analysed. 

Since records of vital events are official government documents that have legal value, they must be kept in a secure, permanent way. Vital records can be stored both centrally and locally. Care must be taken to ensure that the records are secure and protected from catastrophic events such as fires, floods or other natural disaster events. Many countries store records in a vault with fire-protection features.

Registration records of each type should be numbered consecutively by year. A numbering system is essential for identifying each event registration record, as it is one of the bases for record searching and preparing an index.

Backup methods must also be used to ensure that the records are preserved and can be restored if the original records get lost. Backup copies should be stored in a safe, remote location away from the geographic area where the original records are kept.

There should be a policy directive, established in law and regulations, stating that information on individual vital event records is not to be disclosed to anyone except authorised persons – for example, the registrants themselves and/or their legal representatives; a close relative such as a spouse, parent, or a son or daughter; or other person having a direct and tangible right to the facts contained in the record.

Read more

National Centre for Health Statistics, International Statistics Program (2015). Training course on civil registration and vital statistics systems, participant’s notes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

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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