Accurate civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) data are critical to understanding national health status and developing appropriate strategies and relevant policies to improve population health. In its absence, countries have an unclear picture of birth and death rates and the causes of death. This data gap makes it difficult to allocate resources appropriately to health, education and other key government sectors. As part of Data for Health, countries around the world are investing in expanding and improving the quality of the civil registration and vital statistics systems. However, unless data are regularly analyzed and used, citizens will not reap the benefits of this investment.
The CRVS Data Use Training Course increases ministry of health capacity to collect, analyze and use vital statistics data. Developed in collaboration with the University of Melbourne (UM) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the course offers up to five days of hands-on in-country training on vital statistics data analysis and use for government officials who work with vital statistics data. In addition to providing training, the last day of the course incorporates a project where course facilitators will provide guidance to participants on a vital statistics analysis or report chosen by the ministry.
During the five-day training course, participants learn how to:
• Conduct vital statistics data analysis
• Interpret vital statistics data
• Understand more advanced uses of CRVS data
• Create high-quality vital statistics visualizations and reports
• Disseminate findings to multiple audiences, including researchers, policymakers, media, etc.
This training has a dual outcome: participants who are empowered to analyze and use their vital statistics data and a successfully completed project. In Mumbai, we trained staff from wards within the city on how to use their local vital statistics data and supported each ward to create a vital statistics profile.
A modified version of the CRVS Data Use training focuses on the production of a vital statistics report. Publication of the report may also include an online, interactive version accessible to internal and/or external stakeholders. In Rwanda, participants used course materials on data quality assessment and the Production of a Vital Statistics Report guidance documents to develop their first national vital statistics report. This will serve as a benchmark for Rwanda’s future vital statistics reports and is a major contribution towards improving its CRVS system.