Cause Of Death Reporting Around The World

In some parts of the developing world, less than half of deaths are registered with cause of death information.

Death certification and reporting are a means of monitoring mortality rates and patterns and determining the leading mortality causes. The government or health agencies such as World Health Organization can use the statistics on causes of death to develop prevention measures for causes of death. Despite the effort by government agencies and international world bodies to implement death registration policies, death registration is still very low in most developing nations and where it is done, accurate information is not made available to the registrar of deaths. Countries like Honduras and Morocco register less than 30% of their deaths. There are several factors that are responsible for the low death registration. These factors include;

Sudden Deaths

Sudden death registration is less accurate and rare because of the stigmatization associated with it. Some sudden deaths are also considered a police case and would need investigations to ascertain the real cause. Most families will likely not report such to avoid going through the process of investigation. Some sudden deaths will also require post-mortem to determine the cause of death. Postmortem could be costly for the family of the deceased, and therefore they would rather bury their dead without involving health authorities. Deaths caused by diseases such as HIV/AIDS, suicides are not reported because of stigmatization from the community. In some communities in the developing world, the family is considered cursed if a member died from certain disease and thus they will rather bury their dead without reporting to preserve the family image.

Extrajudicial Deaths

More than 50% of the deaths caused by police or government officials in most countries are never reported. Most police custodial deaths are never reported because the police personnel does not want to take responsibility for the death. Over 1000 people die in police custody every year, but only 300 cases are reported. Extrajudicial deaths are also not reported neither is the deceased bodies traced in most cases because of an attempt to hide trails of evidence by those involved in the killing.

Implications Of Lack Of Cause Of Death Reporting

Lack of cause of death reporting is one of the contributing factors to the rapid spread of some the infectious diseases. Because of lack of statistical data, health workers are not in a position to put in preventive measures to control such diseases. Government expenditure in the health sector aims at reducing known causes of death, if causes of deaths are not reported or inaccurate then the government and health agencies are likely to spend or budget on a wrong strategy for death prevention.

Death Registrations With Cause Of Death Information

Countries such as Nicaragua, Peru, Singapore, Armenia, and Qatar reported over 60% of deaths with the cause of death information. Most communities in the developing world need to be enlightened on the importance of reporting causes of death. The cause of death registration process should also be made simple and readily available for those in remote areas in the developing countries to boost the number of registered deaths. Laws should also be enforced to ensure causes of deaths are registered as soon as deaths occur.

Cause Of Death Reporting Around The World

RankCountries Where Cause of Death Often Goes Unregistered% of Death Registrations with Cause of Death Information
3Saudi Arabia51.0%
4Dominican Republic52.0%
10El Salvador78.0%
12Antigua and Barbuda79.0%
13St. Kitts and Nevis79.0%

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