Mortality patterns in Vietnam, 2006: Findings from a national verbal autopsy survey

Vietnam Evidence for Health Policy Project, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, 138 Giang Vo Str, Hanoi, Vietnam. .
BMC Research Notes 03/2010; 3(1):78. DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-3-78
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Accurate nationally representative statistics on total and cause-specific mortality in Vietnam are lacking due to incomplete capture in government reporting systems. This paper presents total and cause-specific mortality results from a national verbal autopsy survey conducted first time in Vietnam in conjunction with the annual population change survey and discusses methodological and logistical challenges associated with the implementation of a nation-wide assessment of mortality based on surveys.Verbal autopsy interviews, using the WHO standard questionnaire, were conducted with close relatives of the 6798 deaths identified in the 2007 population change survey in Vietnam. Data collectors were health staff recruited from the commune health station who undertook 3-day intensive training on VA interview. The Preston-Coale method assessed the level of completeness of mortality reporting from the population change survey. The number of deaths in each age-sex grouping is inflated according to the estimate of completeness to produce an adjusted number of deaths. Underlying causes of death were aggregated to the International Classification of Diseases Mortality Tabulation List 1. Leading causes of death were tabulated by sex for three broad age groups: 0-14 years; 15-59 years; and 60 years and above.
Completeness of mortality reporting was 69% for males and 54% for females with substantial regional variation. The use of VA has resulted in 10% of deaths being classified to ill-defined among males, and 15% among females. More ill-defined deaths were reported among the 60 year or above age group. Incomplete death reporting, wide geographical dispersal of deaths, extensive travel between households, and substantial variation in local responses to VA interviews challenged the implementation of a national mortality and cause of death assessment based on surveys.
Verbal autopsy can be a viable tool to identify cause of death in Vietnam. However logistical challenges limit its use in conjunction with the national sample survey. Sentinel population clusters for mortality surveillance should be tested to develop an effective and sustainable option for routine mortality and cause of death data collection in Vietnam.

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    • "The average annual road traffic injury death rate of approximately 18 per 100,000 population over the past five years [1] is one of the highest rates in the Western Pacific region [3]. Males aged from 15 to 49 years constitute the majority of deaths and injuries on the road, and transport crashes are the leading cause of mortality among this age group [4]. While the poor transport infrastructure and road network continue to contribute to the traffic injuries and deaths, improved road conditions, especially on national highways, have also resulted in high speed traffic, and consequently the increased frequency of crash and severity of injury. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are among the leading causes of mortality in Vietnam. However, mortality data collection systems in Vietnam in general and for RTIs in particular, remain inconsistent and incomplete. Underlying distributions of external causes and body injuries are not available from routine data collection systems or from studies till date. This paper presents characteristics, user type pattern, seasonal distribution, and causes of 1,061 deaths attributable to road crashes ascertained from a national sample mortality surveillance system in Vietnam over a two-year period (2008 and 2009). Methods A sample mortality surveillance system was designed for Vietnam, comprising 192 communes in 16 provinces, accounting for approximately 3% of the Vietnamese population. Deaths were identified from commune level data sources, and followed up by verbal autopsy (VA) based ascertainment of cause of death. Age-standardised mortality rates from RTIs were computed. VA questionnaires were analysed in depth to derive descriptive characteristics of RTI deaths in the sample. Results The age-standardized mortality rates from RTIs were 33.5 and 8.5 per 100,000 for males and females respectively. Majority of deaths were males (79%). Seventy three percent of all deaths were aged from 15 to 49 years and 58% were motorcycle users. As high as 80% of deaths occurred on the day of injury, 42% occurred prior to arrival at hospital, and a further 29% occurred on-site. Direct causes of death were identified for 446 deaths (42%) with head injuries being the most common cause attributable to road traffic injuries overall (79%) and to motorcycle crashes in particular (78%). Conclusion The VA method can provide a useful data source to analyse RTI mortality. The observed considerable mortality from head injuries among motorcycle users highlights the need to evaluate current practice and effectiveness of motorcycle helmet use in Vietnam. The high number of deaths occurring on-site or prior to hospital admission indicates a need for effective pre-hospital first aid services and timely access to emergency facilities. In the absence of standardised death certification, sustained efforts are needed to strengthen mortality surveillance sites supplemented by VA to support evidence based monitoring and control of RTI mortality.
    BMC Public Health 07/2012; 12(1):561. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-561 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "These injuries occur more frequently due to rapid economic growth and motorization in recent years; indeed, the number of road traffic fatalities nationally rose from 4,907 in 1994 to 11,534 in 2005. RTI are the leading cause of death in the 15 - 59 years age group, while RTI is the second in men and the fifth in women most frequent causes of death among the total population [2]. Economic loss also results from RTIs, and is currently estimated at about 855 million US dollars (or 2.45% of Gross Domestic Product) per year [1,3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: Rapid economic growth in Vietnam over the last decade has led to an increased frequency of road traffic injury (RTI), which now represents one of the leading causes of death in the nation. Various efforts toward injury prevention have not produced a significant decline in the incidence of RTIs. Our study sought to describe the geographic distribution of RTIs in Hanoi, Vietnam and to evaluate the accessibility of trauma centers to those injured in the city. We performed a cross-sectional study using Hanoi city police reports from 2006 to describe the epidemiology of RTIs occurring in Hanoi city. Additionally, we identified geographic patterns and determined the direct distance from injury sites to trauma centers by applying geographical information system (GIS) software. Factors associated with the accessibility of trauma centers were evaluated by multivariate regression analysis. We mapped 1,271 RTIs in Hanoi city. About 40% of RTIs occurred among people 20-29 years of age. Additionally, 63% of RTIs were motorcycle-associated incidents. Two peak times of injury occurrence were observed: 12 am-4 pm and 8 pm-0 am. "Hot spots" of road traffic injuries/fatalities were identified in the city area and on main highways using Kernel density estimation. Interestingly, RTIs occurring along the two north-south main roads were not within easy access of trauma centers. Further, fatal cases, gender and injury mechanism were significantly associated with the distance between injury location and trauma centers. Geographical patterns of RTIs in Hanoi city differed by gender, time, and injury mechanism; such information may be useful for injury prevention. Specifically, RTIs occurring along the two north-south main roads have lower accessibility to trauma centers, thus an emergency medical service system should be established.
    Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes 09/2011; 5:11. DOI:10.1186/1752-2897-5-11
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    • "The current analysis has found that annual VA interview completion rates are high and similar with those found in other studies [8,31]. The verbal autopsy interview was completed for 84% of the deaths identified by Ifakara HDSS between 2002 and 2007. "
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    ABSTRACT: Verbal autopsy (VA) is a widely used tool to assign probable cause of death in areas with inadequate vital registration systems. Its uses in priority setting and health planning are well documented in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Asia. However, there is a lack of data related to VA processing and completion rates in assigning causes of death in a community. There is also a lack of data on factors associated with undetermined causes of death documented in SSA. There is a need for such information for understanding the gaps in VA processing and better estimating disease burden. The study's intent was to determine the completion rate of VA and factors associated with assigning undetermined causes of death in rural Tanzania. A database of deaths reported from the Ifakara Health and Demographic Surveillance System from 2002 to 2007 was used. Completion rates were determined at the following stages of processing: 1) death identified; 2) VA interviews conducted; 3) VA forms submitted to physicians; 4) coding and assigning of cause of death. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with deaths coded as "undetermined." The completion rate of VA after identification of death and the VA interview ranged from 83% in 2002 and 89% in 2007. Ninety-four percent of deaths submitted to physicians were assigned a specific cause, with 31% of the causes coded as undetermined. Neonates and child deaths that occurred outside health facilities were associated with a high rate of undetermined classification (33%, odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] (1.05, 1.67), p = 0.016). Respondents reporting high education levels were less likely to be associated with deaths that were classified as undetermined (24%, OR = 0.76, 95% CI (0.60, -0.96), p = 0.023). Being a child of the deceased compared to a partner (husband or wife) was more likely to be associated with undetermined cause of death classification (OR = 1.35, 95% CI (1.04, 1.75), p = 0.023). Every year, there is a high completion rate of VA in the initial stages of processing; however, a number of VAs are lost during the processing. Most of the losses occur at the final step, physicians' determination of cause of death. The type of respondent and place of death had a significant effect on final determination of the plausible cause of death. The finding provides some insight into the factors affecting full coverage of verbal autopsy diagnosis and the limitations of causes of death based on VA in SSA. Although physician review is the most commonly used method in ascertaining probable cause of death, we suggest further work needs to be done to address the challenges faced by physicians in interpreting VA forms. There is need for an alternative to or improvement of the methods of physician review.
    Population Health Metrics 08/2011; 9(1):41. DOI:10.1186/1478-7954-9-41 · 2.11 Impact Factor
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