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The importance of identified cause-of-death information being available for public health surveillance, actions and research

Pam Groenewald, Virginia Azevedo, Johann Daniels, Juliet Evans, Andrew Boulle, Tracey Naledi, Debbie Bradshaw

Abstract


An amendment to the South African Births and Deaths Registration Act has compromised efforts to strengthen local mortality surveillance to provide statistics for small areas and enable data linkage to provide information for public health actions. Internationally it has been recognised that a careful balance needs to be kept between protecting individual patient confidentiality and enabling effective public health intelligence to guide patient care and service delivery and prevent harmful exposures. This article describes the public health benefits of a local mortality surveillance system in the Western Cape Province, South Africa (SA), as well as its potential for improving the quality of vital statistics data with integration into the national civil registration and vital statistics system. It also identifies other important uses for identifiable cause-of-death data in SA that have been compromised by this legislation. 


Authors' affiliations

Pam Groenewald, Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Virginia Azevedo, City Health, City of Cape Town, South Africa

Johann Daniels, Cape Metropole Information Group, City of Cape Town, South Africa

Juliet Evans, Department of Health, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, South Africa

Andrew Boulle, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Health, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, South Africa

Tracey Naledi, Department of Health, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, South Africa

Debbie Bradshaw, Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Births and Deaths Registration Act; South Africa; Cause of death; Public health; Surveillance; Actions; Research

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(7):528-530. DOI:10.7196/SAMJnew.8019

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-04-16
Date published: 2015-09-21

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