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MUCHAP is a Technical Hub for Verbal Autopsy and Mortality Surveillance.


The Makerere University Centre for Health and Population Research (MUCHAP), operating the Iganga Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS), contributes to advancing health research and population studies in Uganda and beyond. Within this context, a Center of Excellence in Verbal Autopsy and Mortality Surveillance at MUCHAP holds significant potential to strengthen mortality surveillance efforts and improve public health outcomes.

The need for verbal autopsy: 

In settings like Uganda, where vital registration systems are often incomplete or unreliable, verbal autopsy serves as a crucial tool for ascertaining 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. Read more



Between May and June 2023, MUCHAP and National Identification Registration (NIRA) engaged in a research partnership which aimed at harmonizing and improving death registration in a selected population under the IMHDSS research platform. This study aimed to integrate HDSS death reporting protocols with local CRVS death registration operations, to demonstrate operational feasibility and ‘proof of concept’ for implementation of death notification procedures through designated village level CRVS notifiers.15 VHTs conducted the activity in 64 villages and 1185 deaths were fully registered in the NIRA CRVS system.

NIRA did not only participate in registering births and deaths but also was involved in the tree planting activities together with a team from CDC.


The Excess mortality data-preparation and analysis workshop took place in Johannesburg at Wits School of public health in South Africa from 28th   November to 2nd December 2022. This workshop was attended by two data managers from IMHDSS, for 5 days.

There was training on data analysis methods to be applied in the computing of mortality rates, life expectancy and decomposition of life expectancy by age and sex and excess mortality, using both STATA and R, after which data managers applied the learned methods on their data and prepared presentations for the results and methods learned


Two MUCHAP staff members attended the INSPIRE AGM in Nairobi on 14th to 18th February 2023. There was a series of presentations on the importance of data sharing and harmonization across African cohorts from the perspectives of data producers and users, funders and other stakeholders and research capacity strengthening in Africa. In the workshop, there were lectures on OMOP and OHDSSI for data standardization common data models, their types and conventions for data standardization which are used to standardize and facilitate the exchange, pooling, sharing or storing of data from multiple sources.


Two MUCHAP staff attended the above workshop in Jinja on 15th to 20th May 2023 at Nile Front cottages in Jinja, Uganda. The workshop’s agenda included various activities such as reviewing data and use cases from different sources, individual presentations of paper/blog outlines, and individual/group writing sessions.


The MUCHAP, MITS study team attended a 3-day bench marking visit to KEMRI-CDC in Kisumu, Kenya in May 2023. The visit was intended to learn MITS activities conducted under the child mortality surveillance in the neighboring HDSS in order to improve practices of the MITS study at MUCHAP. The visit was very productive especially in understanding MITS processes that can be replicated in the new MITS study here in Uganda.


Makerere University College of Health Sciences; school of Medicine and the school of Public Health held a Joint Annual Scientific Health Conference in Kampala- in September 2022 to showcase research outputs and to build research capacity through learning and presentation of findings. At the conference, MUCHAP was represented by the data manager, IT support officer and a biostatistician- who made oral and poster presentations on different research topics respectively.


The second international Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) took place in Rwanda- Kigali from 13th to 15th December 2022. This meeting brought together African researchers and scholars from different countries in Africa to showcase research outputs on public health challenges affecting Africa, including- emerging pandemics (COVID-19 and Ebola), non-communicable diseases, women in health, maternal and child health, infectious diseases among others. MUCHAP was represented by the Research Manager who made an oral presentation on Mortality and risk factors for Neonatal Mortality in rural Iganga district, Eastern Uganda.



The medical camp was conducted in Wairama village, Nakigo sub-county on 17th June 2023. Approximately 272 members from Wairama and neighboring villages turned up for the medical camp. The services offered included: testing for blood Pressure, blood sugar, HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

The medical camp also managed other general health conditions and offered antenatal care services as well. MUCHAP worked together with health workers of Iganga general hospital who also conducted health education talks on how to manage communicable and non-communicable diseases. The need to improve Maternal/Child health through timely health seeking timely was emphasized while in the event of child death, the need for post-mortem was mentioned as important for improving child health. The MITS autopsy methodology was introduced.

The medical camp aimed at bringing health services and information closer to the community while appreciating community members for their continued partnership with MUCHAP.


Staff members of MUCHAP went out on 10th June for a refresher activity and team building retreat, where they reflected on the progress towards achievement of the strategic plan and celebrated some of the achievements in the financial year.


Village scouts are mandated to continuously notify MUCHAP of any births and deaths that occur in their respective villages within the surveillance area. This work supplements on the existing birth and death registration that is conducted by MUCHAP research assistants during the routine update-round cycles. Refresher training was conducted in June 2023 to strengthen on birth and death notification. Scouts were refreshed on how to fill the birth and death notification form; informed on the importance of timely reporting of these events and the importance of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS).

Makerere University