KUMJ | VOL. 14 | NO. 2 | ISSUE 54 | APR-JUN. 2016

Estimation of Causes of Death in Suburban Nepal Using Verbal Autopsy
Ide N, Fitzpatrick AL, Flaxman AD, Koju R, Tamrakar D, Hernandez B

Background Nepal is in the midst of a disease transition, including a rapid increase of noncommunicable diseases. In order for health policy makers and planners to make informed programmatic and funding decisions, they need up to date and accurate data regarding cause of death throughout the country. Methods of improving cause of death reporting in Nepal are urgently required. Objective We sought to validate SmartVA-Analyze, an application which computer certifies verbal autopsies, to evaluate it as a method for collecting mortality data in Nepal. Method We conducted a medical record review of mortality cases at Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University Hospital. Cases with a verifiable underlying cause of death were used as gold standard reference cases. Verbal autopsies were conducted with caregivers of 48 gold standard cases. Result Of the 66 adult gold standard mortality cases reviewed, 76% were caused by cancer, cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, COPD or injury. When assessing concordance between cause of death from verbal autopsy vs. gold standards, we found an overall agreement (Kappa) of 0.50. Kappa based on broader ICD-10 categories was 0.69. Cause-Specific Mortality Fraction Accuracy was 0.625, and disease specific measures of concordance varied widely, with sensitivities ranging from 0-100%. Conclusion Ongoing, countrywide mortality data collection is crucial for evidence-based priority setting in Nepal. Though not valid for all causes, we found SmartVA-Analyze to provide useful general cause of death data, particularly in settings where death certification is unavailable.
Keyword : Cause of death, death certification, Nepal, SmartVA, verbal autopsy