WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 151-158

Performance of cause-specific childhood mortality surveillance by health workers using a short verbal autopsy tool

1 Centre for Community Medicine, All Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Professor Emeritus, Department of Community Health, St. Stephen’s Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Rakesh Kumar
Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206928

PMID: 28612791

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Background: The routine use of verbal autopsy in health-care delivery settings has been limited. Hence, the performance of neonatal and postneonatal verbal autopsy (VA) tools developed at the Comprehensive Rural Health Services Project (CRHSP), Ballabgarh (India), were assessed. Methods: Short VA tools developed by CRHSP were filled by health workers during their routine house visits while standard VA tools of the International Network of Field Sites with continuous Demographic Evaluation (INDEPTH) were filled by trained research workers for all 143 under-five-children deaths that occurred in 2008. The level of agreement in the cause of death assigned by the two VA tools was assessed by kappa and by comparison of the cause-specific mortality fractions. Results: Among 65 neonatal deaths, the cause specific mortality fraction (CSMF) was 43.1% and 40% for low birthweight, 15.4% and 26.2% for birth asphyxia, and 7.7% and 10.8% for pneumonia by INDEPTH and CRHSP VA tools respectively. In 78 deaths among 29-days to <5-year olds, the CSMF was 29.4% and 26.9% for diarrhoea, and 16.6% each for pneumonia using the INDEPTH and CRHSP VA tools respectively. Kappa for most causes of death was more than 0.8, except for birth asphyxia, which had a kappa of 0.678. Conclusions: Short VA tools have a satisfactory performance in field settings, which can be used routinely by health workers for filling the gaps in the cause-of-death information in places where medical certification of cause of death is deficient.

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