Strengthening standardised interpretation of verbal autopsy data: the new InterVA-4 tool

Peter Byass, Daniel Chandramohan, Samuel J. Clark, Lucia D'Ambruoso, Edward Fottrell, Wendy J. Graham, Abraham J. Herbst, Abraham Hodgson, Sennen Hounton, Kathleen Kahn, Anand Krishnan, Jordana Leitao, Frank Odhiambo, Osman A. Sankoh, Stephen M. Tollman

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Abstract

Background: Verbal autopsy (VA) is the only available approach for determining the cause of many deaths, where routine certification is not in place. Therefore, it is important to use standards and methods for VA that maximise efficiency, consistency and comparability. The World Health Organization (WHO) has led the development of the 2012 WHOVA instrument as a new standard, intended both as a research tool and for routine registration of deaths.

Objective: A new public-domain probabilistic model for interpreting VA data, InterVA-4, is described, which builds on previous versions and is aligned with the 2012 WHO VA instrument. Design: The new model has been designed to use the VA input indicators defined in the 2012 WHO VA instrument and to deliver causes of death compatible with the International Classification of Diseases version 10 (ICD-10) categorised into 62 groups as defined in the 2012 WHO VA instrument. In addition, known shortcomings of previous InterVA models have been addressed in this revision, as well as integrating other work on maternal and perinatal deaths.

Results: The InterVA-4 model is presented here to facilitate its widespread use and to enable further field evaluation to take place. Results from a demonstration dataset from Agincourt, South Africa, show continuity of interpretation between InterVA-3 and InterVA-4, as well as differences reflecting specific issues addressed in the design and development of InterVA-4.

Conclusions: InterVA-4 is made freely available as a new standard model for interpreting VA data into causes of death. It can be used for determining cause of death both in research settings and for routine registration. Further validation opportunities will be explored. These developments in cause of death registration are likely to substantially increase the global coverage of cause-specific mortality data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19281
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal Health Action
Volume5
Issue number-
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2012

Keywords

  • verbal autopsy
  • cause of death
  • vital registration
  • interVA
  • world health organization

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    Byass, P., Chandramohan, D., Clark, S. J., D'Ambruoso, L., Fottrell, E., Graham, W. J., Herbst, A. J., Hodgson, A., Hounton, S., Kahn, K., Krishnan, A., Leitao, J., Odhiambo, F., Sankoh, O. A., & Tollman, S. M. (2012). Strengthening standardised interpretation of verbal autopsy data: the new InterVA-4 tool. Global Health Action, 5(-), [19281]. https://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v5i0.19281