Strengthening causes of death identification through community-based verbal autopsy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kemal Nazarudin Siregar, Rico Kurniawan, Dion Zein Nuridzin, Ryza Jazid BaharuddinNur, Retnowati, Yolanda Handayani, Rohjayanti, Lindawati Halim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Indonesia has not optimally provided complete and reliable civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). Death certification is one of the elements of the CRVS system. Reliable data on death rates and causes serve as the basis for building a strong evidence base for public health policy, planning, monitoring, and evaluation. This study aims to implement an approach to identifying the cause of death through verbal autopsy by empowering community health workers during the pandemic. Method: This study is implementation research with the empowerment of the community, in this case, health cadres and health facilitators/workers, to identify the cause of death through a mobile-based verbal autopsy. This implementation research consisted of four main activities: community-based verbal autopsy, mobile-based verbal autopsy development, data collection, and analysis of the suspected causes of death using InterVA-5. Result: From October to November 2020, a total of 143 respondents were willing to do a verbal autopsy interview (response rate of 58%). Of 143 respondents, most of them were women (112 or 78.3%), was the child of the deceased (61 or 42.7%) and lived with the deceased until before he/she died (120 or 83.9%). Based on the characteristics of the deceased, of 143 deceased, 78 (54.5%) were male, 134 (93.7%) were adults, 100 (69.9%) died at home, and 119 (83.2%) did not have a death certificate stating the cause of death. The cause of death of 143 deceased mainly was infectious disease (92 or 64.3%), followed by non-communicable disease (39 or 27.3%), external factors (5 or 3.5%), and unknown factors (4 or 2.8%). In sequence, the top five suspected causes of death are acute respiratory infection, including pneumonia (72 or 50.3%), other and unspecified infectious disease (18 or 12.6%), other and unspecified cardiac disease (17 or 11.9%), acute cardiac disease (4 or 2.8%), and Digestive neoplasms (4 or 2.8%). Conclusion: The findings showed that the mobile-based verbal autopsy using a community-based mechanism was feasible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1607
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Causes of death
  • Community-based verbal autopsy
  • Covid-19
  • Mobile-based verbal autopsy
  • Verbal autopsy


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