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Investing In Civil Registration, Vital Statistics Systems Critical To Assessing, Achieving Public Health Goals

Devex: Opinion: The Achilles heel of the Sustainable Development Goals is a lack of data
Philip Setel, vice president and director of the civil registration and vital statistics program at Vital Strategies

“…Billions of people live in countries with weak civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, which renders many of them effectively invisible — their lives and deaths slipping through the cracks and their experiences leaving no signposts for policymakers to improve services in the future. … [C]ountry investments in improved CRVS systems are the best long-term way to sustainably determine the needs of national and sub-national populations; measure progress toward the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]; and determine and assess public health objectives. … Fortunately, we have a way forward. Because of technological advancements in data collection and processing, for the first time in history it may be possible to count every human life and make the invisible visible. … It is vitally important that each of us who care about health goals also become advocates for governments to be scorekeepers and invest in civil registration and vital statistics” (11/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.