“Born, lived and died – but counted or not?” Studies of HIV Communities in Africa (Highlights)

Published on 1 January 2012

“Born, lived and died – but counted or not?” is the second in the “Studies of HIV in African communities ‘Highlights'” series.

The articles in this brief explain the importance of being able to collect cause-of-death information and suggest a way forward with the use of verbal autopsies in places where deaths are not recorded. Verbal autopsies are a process where the family and friends of the deseaced are interviewed to better understand the circumstances of the death. The information gathered is then analysed by a doctor or fed into a computer model to decide the likely cause of death.

The brief analyses the following issues:

  • Vital information for vital statistics
  • Who is counting
  • What is killing pregnant women?
  • How do we know if someone has died from AIDS?

This publication is based on the research which came out of the ALPHA Network and INDEPTH workshop on analysing Verbal Autopsy data, with special reference to HIV and maternal deaths, held in Kisumu, Kenya in October 2011.

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