Incompleteness of Death Registration in Ghana: The Role of Mortuaries in Death Registration

Description 

Background: Accurate worldwide information on the levels and patterns of mortality (deaths) is essential for planning and monitoring global public-health initiatives. The gold standard method for collecting such information is death registration. In high-income countries, death registration is effectively 100% complete, but the situation in many developing countries is very different. In most African countries, for example, less than one-quarter of deaths are officially recorded. Methods: The study was done to find out how provision of mortuaries could help increase death registration coverage in Ghana from the current 25%. In a cross sectional survey of 20 districts (those with mortuaries and without), a structured questionnaire was administered to 204 relatives to seek their knowledge on deaths they registered in the year 2010; and 20 districts registrars of births and deaths to explore the problems associated with death registration. Results: According to the relatives, 59.8% of the registered deaths expired at home compared to 33.3% deaths occurring in the hospitals and the remaining 6.9% were coroner’s cases. Again, among the relatives, 46.1% were not aware of death registration and let alone knowing why they should register a death of a relative. In all the 20 districts studied, 95% had no computer. Eighty five percent of the registrars had only secondary education. Seventy percent of the districts had just one employed staff and 15% of the districts had no employed staff. Conclusions or Significance: It was observed in the present study that, the districts with mortuaries registered more deaths as compared to the districts without mortuaries. It is therefore evident that death registration coverage will increase if mortuaries are provided in the districts. Public education should be intensified on the need to register deaths and the registry given the needed assistance to perform. A more holistic and durable programme should be put in place such as the keeping of community register for the entry of all deaths in every community (unit committee level).

Locations 
Ghana
Benin
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Chad
Central African Republic
Congo
Congo (DRC)
Côte d'Ivoire
Gambia, The
Gabon
Guinea
Liberia
Malawi
Nigeria
Niger
Mali
Sierra Leone
Senegal
Togo
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Uganda
Somalia
Themes 
Demographics
Econometric Models
Health Information