Document Detail

Validation study of a verbal autopsy method for causes of childhood mortality in Namibia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9009566     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Verbal autopsy uses a caretaker interview to determine the cause of death. We conducted a study of the major causes of child death in Namibia to determine the validity of this method. A questionnaire, including signs and symptoms of the diagnoses of interest was administered to the caretaker in 135 deaths of children < 5 years old who were identified from hospital records. The 243 diagnoses included malnutrition (77), diarrhoea (73), pneumonia (36), malaria (33), and measles (24). Sensitivity and specificity of various algorithms of reported signs and symptoms were compared to the medical diagnoses. An algorithm for malnutrition (very thin or swelling) had 73 per cent sensitivity and 76 per cent specificity. An algorithm for cerebral malaria (fever, loss of consciousness or convulsion) had 72 per cent sensitivity and 85 per cent specificity, while for all malaria deaths the same algorithm had low sensitivity (45 per cent) and high specificity (87 per cent). For diarrhoea, loose or liquid stools had high sensitivity (89 per cent), but low specificity (61 per cent). Cough with dyspnoea or tachypnoea had 72 per cent sensitivity and 64 per cent specificity. An algorithm for measles (age > or = 120 days, rash) had 71 per cent sensitivity and 85 per cent specificity. The study results suggest verbal autopsy data can be useful to ascertain the leading causes of death in childhood, but may have limitations for health impact evaluation.
C C Mobley; J T Boerma; S Titus; B Lohrke; K Shangula; R E Black
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of tropical pediatrics     Volume:  42     ISSN:  0142-6338     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Trop. Pediatr.     Publication Date:  1996 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-03-21     Completed Date:  1997-03-21     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8010948     Medline TA:  J Trop Pediatr     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  365-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Cause of Death*
Child, Preschool
Infant Mortality*
Infant, Newborn
Namibia / epidemiology
Population Surveillance
Sensitivity and Specificity

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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