Additional Information on CRVS Improvement

The Lancet Series: Who Counts?

These articles comprise a series of four articles published by the Lancet on the importance of collecting data on birth, death, and cause of death for health development and public health decision making; the role of civil registration in providing vital statistics; the challenges experienced during the past 30 to 40 years that have led to inadequate civil registration systems; and potential solutions for improving the availability and quality of vital statistics.

  • Who Counts? 1: A Scandal of Invisibility: Making Everyone Count by Counting Everyone
  • Who Counts? 2: Civil Registration Systems and Vital Statistics: Successes and Missed Opportunities
  • Who Counts? 3: Interim Measures for Meeting Needs for Health Sector Data: Births, Deaths, and Causes of Death
  • Who Counts? 4: The Way Forward

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The Lancet Series: Counting births and deaths

This Lancet Series, which reviews progress since the seminal 2007 series Who counts, describes the growing momentum for civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in countries and in the global health and development community more broadly, stimulated by the need to monitor progress and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals post 2015 era.  The four papers summarise the need for better empirical data on births and deaths, describe bottlenecks to progress and how they are being overcome, and identify drivers for change and opportunities to sustain progress. They show,  using a composite metric, evidence of some progress in vital statistics systems, identify the interventions that work to strengthen CRVS systems and the organizational, political and leadership ingredients for success.

  • Counting births and deaths 1: Civil registration and vital statistics: progress in the data revolution for counting and accountability
  • Counting births and deaths 2: Are well functioning civil registration and vital statistics systems associated with better health outcomes?
  • Counting births and deaths 3: A global assessment of civil registration and vital statistics systems: monitoring data quality and progress
  • Counting births and deaths 4: Towards universal civil registration and vital statistics systems: the time is now

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Regional CRVS Resources


Asia and the Pacific

Eastern Mediterranean

Latin America

The Global Summit on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

The ‘Make Every Life Count’ Global Summit on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics took place in Bangkok, Thailand in April, 2013. The website contains a variety of resources, including presentations from the summit, links to CRVS tools, and other CRVS reports. Visit website For additional information on CRVS activity in Asia and the Pacific, please visit this website.

International Institute for Vital Registration and Statistics (IIVRS) Reports

Technical papers from the International Institute for Vital Registration and Statistics (IIVRS ) comprise a series of reports that provide a historical perspective on the vital statistics systems of various countries and on methods for their improvement. Read papers

CRVS Handbooks, Guidelines, and Training Manuals


The United Nations Statistics Division has published a series of handbooks on various aspects of CRVS. The division also has published a guiding manual for vital statistics in, “Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System.”

The University of Queensland’s Health Information Systems Knowledge Hub and WHO have established a collaboration that has produced multiple guidance documents on improving CRVS systems.

Resources for Identifying Cause of Death

Software for automated cause of death

Medical certification of cause of death e-training tools— The following electronic training tools are available for instruction on medical certification of cause of death:

Verbal autopsy

  • WHO Verbal Autopsy Standards: Ascertaining and Attributing Causes of Death
  • InterVA
    InterVA is a suite of computer models to facilitate interpretation of verbal autopsies. Research for the development of InterVA is based at the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, in northern Sweden.
  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)
    IHME is an independent academic research center created at the University of Washington that conducts work in the areas of research, education and training, communications, and policy. Their work targets measurement of population health status and disease burden, identification of factors that determine health outcomes, and rigorous evaluation of health policies and interventions. IHME has published a series of research articles on verbal autopsy.
  • Measure Evaluation/SAVVY: Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy
    SAVVY is a method to strengthen monitoring and measurement of vital events, including information on cause of death. Through verbal autopsy, this system yields nationally representative mortality information. The Measure Evaluation SAVVY resource library contains manuals, training guides, and related materials for best practices.

New Approaches to Collecting Vital Events Information

  • MOVE-ITThe Health Metrics Network developed the Monitoring of Vital Events through the use of Information Technology (MOVE-IT) initiative to use mobile technology to improve the reporting of vital events, principally births and deaths, and the collection of causes of death in low and middle-income countries. MOVE-IT made use of information technology to promote the capture of data on vital events at the source, in particular home-based events that often go unreported in developing countries.
  • INDEPTH NetworkThe International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH Network) is an international platform of sentinel demographic sites that provides health and demographic data and research to enable developing countries to set health priorities and policies based on longitudinal evidence. INDEPTH’s extensive research and experience collecting demographic data has yielded useful tools and guidance for monitoring vital events. More information about the INDEPTH Network can be found atthe following website:
  • The Mortality Assessment for Health Programs (MAP) SystemAvailable on the CORE Group website, this manual serves as a guide for assessing under-five mortality rates by establishing a Mortality Assessment for Health Programs (MAP). This methodology enables organizations to collect accurate vital events information and to detect changes in under-five mortality.