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Cad Saude Publica. 2010 Jun;26(6):1221-33.

[Verbal autopsy for investigating deaths from ill-defined causes in Minas Gerais State, Brazil].

[Article in Portuguese]

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  • 1Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Rua Prata 208, apto. 301, Belo Horizonte, MG 30310-100, Brasil.


Ill-defined causes of death can be related to problems in access to health services or poor quality of medical care and are indicators of data quality in the Mortality Information System (MIS). A sample of municipalities (counties) was selected from the Northeastern Macro-Region of Minas Gerais State, Brazil, with the aim of investigating deaths from ill-defined causes and deaths not reported to the Mortality Information System in 2007, using the verbal autopsy technique. The method allowed identifying 87% of the causes of investigated deaths, of which 17% (n = 37) were due to violent causes. At the end of the study, of the 779 investigated deaths, 9.5% (n = 74) were due to external causes found outside the MIS. The distribution of causes was similar when comparing deaths reported (versus not reported) to the MIS for natural causes, but different when external causes were included. The article concludes that the verbal autopsy method can be a valuable tool for improving the MIS, allowing the identification of causes of death and improving data completeness.

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