Countries address barriers impeding better civil registration and vital statistics
17 August 2011
Today, the Health Metrics Network (HMN) publishes details of 12 start-up projects in countries that have begun in Africa and Asia to sustainably improve civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). This work is being carried out in nine African and three Asian countries under the HMN Monitoring of Vital Events, including through information technology (MOVE-IT) priority strategic initiative. The goal is to find effective solutions for a range of specific barriers which currently impede proper functioning of CRVS systems.
Making use of information technology
A number of the activities utilize information technology (IT) to capture, speed up transmission and improve data in developing countries. In Kenya, for instance, mobile phone technology (mHealth) is being introduced to expedite and improve the registration of births and deaths in three districts, including through the use of text messages to notify local authorities. Forms are being programmed into mobile phones and stored on a web server so that information can be used for different tasks. Mobile phones will carry a brief verbal autopsy questionnaire to determine causes of deaths at the community level.
Monitoring progress towards Millennium Development Goals
The 12 projects, taken together, will eventually generate evidence needed to strengthen the national health information system which, in turn, will help to accurately measure and track progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For example, in Cambodia, the work focuses on information system improvements to support tracking progress for the achievement of MDG 5,to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio during the period 1990 to 2015. The MOVE-IT work will establish a community-based system for vital events recording, maternal death surveillance and a system for remedial interventions and prevention of avoidable maternal deaths.
Objectives, deliverables, implementing partners and expected outcomes slated for 2012 and beyond are now available for each HMN-supported project. Experiences and lessons learned from these activities will be compiled, documenting and advising on best practices. Nearly US $3.7 million, originating from donor governments and foundations, has been committed by HMN for these projects.