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Qualitative and quantitative research to assess vital registration and compile vital statistics in Viet Nam

Date: Tuesday 30 October 10.45–12.15
Source: Forum 11
Authors: Chalapati Rao, Lecturer, International Health, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia
with NTK Chuc and Tran That


Where civil registration systems are weak or non-functional, research is needed to find ways of strengthening them that are appropriate to different historical, cultural and socioeconomic circumstances. Inevitably, building such systems will take time and resources. In the interim, alternate methods to estimate mortality are needed for populations that do not have adequate statistics systems. This research in Viet Nam provides information on these two aspects of mortality data collection and estimation.

The following questions guided research: 1) What are the existing practices for registering deaths in the vital registration system in Viet Nam? 2) Who are the key stakeholders in this system, and what are their roles and responsibilities? 3) What are the key modifications required to adapt the current systems to include the reporting of cause of death at the time of registering deaths? 4) What is the best process to compile statistics on population and vital events at local (commune) levels on a periodic basis, and transmit the same to provincial and national authorities? 5) What are the current levels and differentials in mortality in the Vietnamese population, as derived from vital statistics? Are they plausible? 6) What are the strengths and limitations of the Vietnamese vital registration system?

Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used.

Expected outputs are as follows: 1) Qualitative report: The qualitative research will document the steps and process of vital registration in Viet Nam, the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, and the mechanisms to include the reporting of cause of death as part of the civil registration process. The report will highlight the strengths and limitations of the Vietnamese system, and strategies to strengthen it. 2) Vital statistics report: The research will generate the following statistics at national and regional level: a) age-specific death rates; b) life expectancy at birth; c) under- five mortality rates; d) risks of adult mortality (between ages 15 and 60); and e) completeness of registration.

These reports on vital statistics in Viet Nam will be used as empirical evidence to assess the health situation in the country, as well as inform on the operational status of an integral element of health information systems in Viet Nam.