Verbal autopsy (VA) is the only practical alternative to the medical certification of cause of death (MCCOD) by a trained physician, and the subsequent coding of that death certificate by a trained coder. MCCOD represents the very best practice for countries to follow but, in many countries, physicians are not available to certify deaths and capacity for correct International Classification of Diseases coding is limited. In these cases, the information from VA can be of enormous value for informing public health policy by generating relevant and timely cause of death (COD) information for populations where no such information exists.
These guidelines provide five steps for users of VA to follow to help them interpret and present their VA data, and thus improve the VA’s utility for public health decision-making.
Authors: These guidelines were authored by a technical working group of the Bloomberg Data for Health (D4H) initiative: Tim Adair, Carla Abouzahr, Md Hafiz Chowdhury, Daniel Cobos, Don de Savigny, Sonja Firth, Riley Hazard, Rohina Joshi, Alan Lopez, Lene Mikkelsen, Mohsen Naghavi, Erin Nichols, Ian Riley.