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Making Every Person Count: Vital Strategies in Conversation with Farnaz Malik and Robert Mswia

Robert Mswia, Senior Technical Advisor for Verbal Autopsy, and Farnaz Malik, Technical Advisor

Q: How do vital statistics reports help governments improve planning and priority setting?

A: Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) is at the root of good governance. The regular production of a vital statistics report–which includes the numbers of births and deaths in a population–serves important governmental needs for monitoring and priority-setting across that include cause of death data can enhance public understanding of critical public health issues. For example, these reports can provide transparency and accountability for progress in health, demographic, and social indicators, and help identify health and social sector priorities, inequities or gaps.

Q: How can the new resource kit help governments improve their CRVS systems?

A: Globally, at least 25% of births of children under age 5 and 40% of deaths remain unregistered. By regularly producing vital statistics reports, governments can identify gaps and limitations in the existing CRVS system, such as incomplete birth and death registration data, and increase investment to improve the system.

Q: What is the importance of estimating birth and death registration completeness?

A: Completeness, or the principle of “universality,” is at the heart of the civil registration mission. Measuring birth and death registration completeness tells us how many people are being left behind in the effort to attain and maintain the continuous and universal record of all vital events in a population within CRVS systems.

Q: How can the new guide “Estimating Completeness of Birth and Death Registration” help government achieve birth and death registration completeness?

A: Our new guide, Estimating Completeness of Birth and Death Registration, provides governments with a toolbox to routinely assess CRVS system performance and outlines interventions for improvement. The guide also serves as an important resource for governments to track progress toward SDGs and targets that aim for universal birth registration and 80% death registration.

Q: How can these new tools help governments in their progress toward SDGs?

A: Sixty-seven of the 231 Sustainable Development Goal indicators can be measured effectively by using data derived from well-functioning CRVS systems, according to the World Bank. These indicators cover 12 of the 17 SDGs, and include targets and indicators directly related to CRVS systems including: “proportion of children under 5 years whose births have been registered with a civil authority.”



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