CDC and Prevention Foundation to organise training programme for forensic, post-mortem surgeons

Nov 08, 2017, 10:01 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

For the first time, the BMC health department has joined hands with the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation (CDC) to organise a training programme for forensic and post-mortem surgeons, specifically to teach them how to issue uniform reports for cause of death.

Representation pic
Representational pic

Sources confirmed that the session will be attended by all autopsy surgeons from all 10 mortuaries in the city (GT, St George, JJ, Nair, KEM, Sion, Rajawadi, Cooper, Siddharth, Bhagwati).

Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer at the BMC, told this reporter, "Without uniformity in the cause of death reports, it can impact data collection. This is the first time such a session is being conducted."

When asked if the health department has come across discrepancies earlier in the cause of death reports, Dr Keskar replied in the affirmative, but did not wish to elaborate.

Better health policies
Experts said accurate cause of death reporting is crucial, as it affects the mortality statistics, which in turn is essential health information used in India to influence and formulate health policy.

A senior health official said, "We are working to improve the quality of health data collection. Accordingly, we can analyse the top ailments and reasons for death, which helps to formulate health policies."

Dr Olga Jones from CDC and Dr Sam Notzon, from the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Health Statistics, US, have already arrived in Mumbai. They are the main speakers for the training session, slated for 2 pm today, at Topiwala Medical College and BYL Nair hospital.

A forensic surgeon attending the programme said, "In my 27-year career, this is first time such an initiative has been taken. It will help the authorities to decide health policies and to understand if there is a new trend of illness or otherwise."

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Case study
Presentation: Male, 55, with liver cirrhosis for 1 year from chronic alcohol abuse for the past 15 years dies of an upper gastrointestinal bleed of 2 days.

Ideal cause of death report: 
Line A: Upper gastrointestinal bleed (2 days)
Line B: Ruptured oesophageal varices (2 days)
Line C: Liver Cirrhosis (1 year)
Line D: Chronic alcohol abuse – Underlying cause (15 years)

Dos and Don'ts
>> No abbreviations 
>> Write in upper case
>> Verify spelling of names
>> Obtain all signatures and rubber stamps
>> Avoid using ambiguous or ill-defined terms 
>> Lines A, B, C and D in part 1 should be filled in correct sequence 
>> Always fill the time interval column if known, or state 'Unknown' 
>> Write only one cause of death per line in part 1
>> Give specific details

48.3 lakh
Approx number of deaths registered across the nation in 2011

9.7 lakh
Approx number of deaths that were medically certified

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