Violence and Injury Prevention

Fatal injury surveillance in mortuaries and hospitals: a manual for practitioners

In many low- and middle-income countries, injuries and violence are among the leading causes of death, but few such countries have a system to routinely collect information about fatalities resulting from these causes. Only 34 countries in the world produce high-quality cause of death data that include complete and reliable information on external causes of death. Even countries with good vital registration systems often lack the detailed information on fatal injuries necessary to inform injury and violence prevention strategies.

Fatal injury surveillance in mortuaries and hospitals: a manual for practitioners is aimed at improving injury and violence data. It supports ongoing international efforts to improve the gathering of mortality statistics, and aligns with both the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and International Classification of External Causes of Injury (ICECI). The manual is primarily intended for professionals working in institutions responsible for the collection, compilation and use of mortality data for public health action. This would typically include the ministry of health and other government department statisticians and focal persons for injury and violence prevention. Although applicable in all countries, the manual will be most useful in countries that lack a formal vital registration system or only have a relatively basic system that does not provide enough detail on injuries and violence. In all countries, it will highlight the significance of injury and violence as a public health problem and provide some data to inform prevention strategies and interventions.

What is included in the manual?

  • an overview of the status of mortality data collection globally and how data from such systems can contribute to injury and violence prevention programmes (Chapter 1)
  • a detailed description of the steps needed for planning, implementing and evaluating a fatal injury surveillance system (Chapter 2)
  • a list of recommended data elements and coding guide (Chapter 3)
  • examples and cases studies on how to link surveillance data to public health action (Chapter 4)
  • a set of tables that can be used for presenting the data from a fatal injury surveillance system (Appendix I)
  • an expanded coding guide listing additional mechanism of injury categories and detailed coding options for data elements included in Chapter 3 (Appendix II).

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