Goal 3 highlights the critical importance of civil registration being linked to the production and quality assurance of vital statistics on the occurrence and characteristics of vital events. For many Governments, the routine generation of accurate complete and timely statistics on births, deaths and causes of death will require medium-term strategic and prioritized investment to improve civil registration and the national statistical system. There is thus a need to work progressively towards this goal. In the interim, the need for data to track progress towards improved health outcomes and broader development goals can be met using alternative sources, including censuses, household surveys and sample registration methods. While each method has some advantages, none is able to replicate the key strengths of civil registration as a source, namely universality in coverage, permanence and continuity, and archiving of records.
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