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From research to the field: Implementing verbal autopsy in Myanmar

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Published on Mar 5, 2019

The Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health (D4H) Initiative is assisting the Government of Myanmar to improve the capture and transmission of cause of death data – especially data on rural deaths – to improve the overall quality and completeness of mortality statistics. Myanmar’s CRVS improvement efforts centre around making full use of the existing midwifery system, improving on aspects of the birth and death reporting process.

Myanmar’s nearly 20,000 midwives play a critical role in the collection of data, and many of these midwives have already undergone two years of vocational training to prepare them for this role. As part of D4H, Myanmar has begun training midwives to perform verbal autopsies, or VAs, using digital tablets. The VA process involves an interview with the decedent’s family members regarding signs and symptoms prior to death.

Midwives are best-placed to conduct VAs given that they work in close contact with village populations for routine health monitoring activities like immunisations, and are often the first to know about deaths. Using tablets for collecting VA interview data, a software program for sending and storing the data, and a computer algorithm to generate a probable underlying cause of death, the Central Statistical Organization and Ministry of Health and Sports can generate mortality statistics for the population, even for those deaths that have not been medically certified by a physician.

These interview were filmed in Myanmar in July 2018 in Burmese (English subtitles).

Interviews with Sandar Bo, Data for Health, Country Coordinator include midwives from:
-Daw Zin Mar Oo from Kalaw MCH
-Ma Ei Ei Thae from Kalaw MCH
-Dr. Than Than Aye from Kalaw Hospital
-Daw Su Mon Oo from Nan Taing RHC
-Daw Khin Aye Hlaing from Nan Taing RHC
-Dr. Han Thi Tin Oo from SPHD

For more information on the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative, visit http://www.crvsgateway.info

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