Verbal autopsy covers the techniques used for determining cause of death, after someone has died without their death being formally recorded by health services. It involves interviewing someone who witnessed the death - often a family member or other carer - and noting the details of the final disease. Then those data can be assessed by a physician or processed by a computer model to assign a likely cause of death.
Why bother to do all this, once someone has died? The reason is that the patterns of people's deaths are hugely important for understanding health and disease in populations. In large parts of the world, especially in Africa and Asia, millions of deaths pass by unrecorded, and therefore capturing information about these unrecorded deaths is hugely important for planning health services.
InterVA model, compatible with WHO VA standards
Collaborating Centre Technical Bulletins:
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This page: last updated by Peter Byass 20th November 2015