by Erin K. Nichols, Peter Byass, Daniel Chandramohan et al.
PLoS Med 15(1): e1002486 – Published: January 10, 2018
Verbal autopsy (VA) is a practical method for determining probable causes of death at the population level in places where systems for medical certification of cause of death are weak. VA methods suitable for use in routine settings, such as civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, have developed rapidly in the last decade. Despite all improvements in design and technology, VA is only recommended where medical certification of cause of death is not possible. The method can nevertheless provide sufficient information to guide public health priorities in communities in which physician certification of deaths is largely unavailable. The WHO 2016 VA instrument, together with validated approaches to analyzing VA data, offers countries solutions to improving information about patterns of cause-specific mortality.