Death Data Is Reshaping Developing World Disease Prevention

Software algorithms are helping to create more accurate cause of death reports

About 35 million deaths go unrecorded globally, leaving dozens of nations unable to reliably track what kills their citizens. Now, innovative methods such as verbal autopsies are being rolled out to help collect data in places like the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, where most deaths occur at home and only a quarter are certified by doctors. The goal is to feed the new data into software algorithms, which will come up with a probable cause of death and ultimately help drive evidence-based health policy decisions and prevention strategies for diseases.

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