Developing and Validating a Standardized Verbal Autopsy Tool to Elicit Most Probable Cause of Death for Low- and Middle-income Countries

Policy Lesson
9 Jun 2016

The INDEPTH Network, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, has developed a verbal autopsy (VA) tool for determining causes of death in settings where civil registration of vital statistics are incomplete or non-existent. This work has had significant global impact on national and international agencies, the global research community, and indirectly on millions of rural people who have been affected by the health policies influenced by this work. The VA tool has been particularly useful in rural areas of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where deaths occur in the absence of medically trained personnel or where clinical autopsies are not available. This has enabled better tracking of premature mortality and its causes in LMIC settings, and appropriate allocation of budgets towards diseases with the highest burdens.