In this video interview Dr. Abraham Flaxman, Associate Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, explains the importance of verbal autopsy and how updated software is improving this method.
Globally, two out of every three deaths do not have a death certificate. Since many countries lack complete vital registration systems, one of the key pieces of information about population health is missing – causes of death. Understanding what the most prevalent causes of death are in a given population can help target preventive interventions and provide health services.
Verbal autopsy (VA) is a method of determining individuals’ causes of death and cause-specific mortality fractions in populations without a complete vital registration system. Verbal autopsies consist of a trained interviewer using a questionnaire to collect information about the signs, symptoms, and demographic characteristics of a recently deceased person from an individual familiar with the deceased.