WHO Manual Addresses Fatality Surveillance in Hospitals, Mortuaries

Only 34 countries around the world generate high-quality data about cause of death, according to the organization.

The major obstacle making it difficult to calculate global rates for injury- and violence-related deaths is many countries’ lack of systems to collect the information. Only 34 countries produce high-quality cause of death data that include complete, reliable information on external causes of death, according to the World Health Organization, which has published a new manual, "Fatal injury surveillance in mortuaries and hospitals," to help close this gap so better prevention strategies can be planned and implemented.

Not surprisingly, the systems are especially lacking in low- and middle-income countries.

The manual aims to improve injury and violence data. It supports ongoing international efforts to improve data collection and aligns with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and International Classification of External Causes of Injury (ICECI). The manual is primarily intended for professionals working in institutions responsible for the collection, compilation, and use of mortality data for public health action, according to WHO.

It includes a detailed description of the steps needed for planning, implementing, and evaluating a fatal injury surveillance system (Chapter 2) and also a list of recommended data elements and a coding guide (Chapter 3).

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