Adult death registration in Matlab, rural Bangladesh: completeness, correlates, and obstacles

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Civil registration of vital events such as deaths and births is a key part of the process of securing rights and benefits for individuals worldwide. It also enables the production of vital statistics for local planning of social services. In many low- and lower-middle-income countries, however, civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems do not adequately register significant numbers of births and, especially, deaths. In this study, we aim to estimate the completeness of adult death registration (for age 15 and older) in the Matlab health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) area in Bangladesh and to identify reasons for (not) registering deaths in the national CRVS system. We conducted a sample survey of 2538 households and recorded 571 adult deaths that had occurred in the 3 years preceding the survey. Only 17% of these deaths were registered in the national CRVS system, with large gender differences in registration rates (male = 26% vs. female = 5%). Respondents who reported that a recent death in the household was registered indicated that the primary reasons for registration were to secure an inheritance and to access social services. The main reasons cited for not registering a death were lack of knowledge about CRVS and not perceiving the benefits of death registration. Information campaigns to raise awareness of death registration, as well as stronger incentives to register deaths, may be needed to improve the completeness of death registration in Bangladesh.




Haider, M. M., Alam, N., Ibn Bashar, M., & Helleringer, S. (2021). Adult death registration in Matlab, rural Bangladesh: completeness, correlates, and obstacles. Genus, 77(1).

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