The MUCHAP technical Hub for verbal autopsy and mortality surveillance.

The Makerere University Centre for Health and Population Research (MUCHAP), operating the Iganga Mayuge Open Population cohort aka HDSS, contributes to advancing population health research in Uganda. Within this context, a technical hub for Verbal Autopsy and Mortality Surveillance holds significant potential to strengthen mortality surveillance efforts and improve public health outcomes.

In settings where vital registration systems are often incomplete or unreliable, and where over 60% of deaths occur in communities without a medical doctor to conduct a medically certified cause of death, verbal autopsy serves as a crucial tool for ascertaining probable causes of death. By collecting information from family members or caregivers of the deceased, verbal autopsy provides valuable insights into the circumstances and symptoms preceding death, allowing for accurate cause of death determination.

The hub prioritizes training healthcare professionals, researchers, and fieldworkers in the WHO-recommended verbal autopsy methodologies, ensuring standardized data collection and interpretation practices.

The initiatives drive the deployment of verbal autopsy training tools, algorithms, and analytical techniques tailored to specific contextual needs. Rigorous quality assurance protocols, including regular audits and validation studies, are implemented to uphold the reliability and validity of the generated verbal autopsy data.

The hub forges partnerships with health system authorities to integrate verbal autopsy data seamlessly into routine mortality surveillance activities, enhancing the evidence base for decision-making at both local and national levels.

The Hub closely collaborates with academic institutions, government agencies, regulatory agencies, and non-governmental organizations. By leveraging the expertise and resources of diverse stakeholders, the Hub maximizes its impact and sustainability.

Healthcare workers within a district receive comprehensive training in verbal autopsy techniques through the Hub. They skillfully, and systematically collect verbal autopsy data on deaths that occur in the community. This information enables the determination of probable cause of death which local health authorities use to identify priority health issues, allocate resources effectively, and tailor interventions to address community health needs, leading to improved health outcomes in the region.

The MUCHAP verbal autopsy and mortality surveillance technical Hub contributes to the strengthening of mortality surveillance efforts in Uganda. By leveraging the two-decade experience, protocols, and resources at this Makerere University Population cohort (aka Iganga Mayuge HDSS), stakeholders have the potential to drive evidence-informed policymaking, impactful research, and improved health outcomes for the population. By emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and steadfast commitment to quality, the hub is a cornerstone of improved CRVS, and burden of disease estimation.

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