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SAVVY in Brazil

The Brazilian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with MEASURE Evaluation, adapted SAVVY verbal autopsy tools and methodologies to improve the quality of their Mortality Information System.
June 03, 2008

The Brazilian Ministry of Health (MINSA), in collaboration with MEASURE Evaluation, has adapted SAVVY verbal autopsy (VA) tools and methodologies to improve the quality of their Mortality Information System (MIS). These international standard VA tools were adapted to the Brazilian context, translated into Portuguese, and piloted in three states in northern Brazil in 2007.

Upon successful completion of the pilot testing, the Brazilian Ministry of Health decided to scale up implementation of the verbal autopsy methodologies to include 17 states in the north, northeast, and southeast. The purpose of this scale-up is to reduce the number of deaths due to ill-defined cause to less than 10% of all deaths in each state. MINSA acknowledges that by reducing the proportion of deaths due to unknown cause within the SIM, cause-specific mortality fractions will be more precise. Thus, stakeholders will have access to better mortality information on which to base health program and policy decisions.

When it is not possible for a physician to assign an underlying cause of deaths captured in the system, death certificates and the appropriate VA forms are returned to the municipal health office. A VA interviewer at the municipal health office will then recontact the household of the deceased and if possible, perform a verbal autopsy. The completed VA will then be certified and coded to ICD-10, and the MIS will be updated with this information.

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