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  1. 1

    How many by 2000: counting births and deaths. Report of a Working Group, Rijeka, Yugoslavia, 14-18 September 1981.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    Geneva, WHO, [1982]. 17 p. (WHO/HS/NAT.COM/82.375)

    The overall objective of the Working Group of the World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Yugoslavia during September 1981 was to examine methods for counting births and deaths and so provide adequate health statistics as required by the community, the primary health care services and health administrators. The role of civil registration, the national census and survey procedures for providing basic demographic and health statistics was dealt with extensively. Health care workers require information that relates directly to and derives from the care they provide, in particular: maternal and child health services, including family planning; medical surveillance; and immunization. The managers and health service administrators need information that is frequently derived from these caring activities but which can then be used in defining health policy, forecasting needs, health and service planning, monitoring health programs, and technical and environmental studies. Focus in this report is on the following: sources of information on births and deaths (information from the census, information from civil registration, information from hospitals and other health centers, and the need for alternative sources of birth and death information); counting births and deaths at primary health care level (the definition of community health worker; collecting, acquiring and recording information; reporting, supervision, and information feedback; counting of births and deaths by health community workers; cause of death, presenting symptoms or complaints before death; primary health care activities as a basis for counting births and deaths; establishing boundaries and enumerating the community); survey requirements; collecting information on births and deaths--the advantages and disadvantages of principal methods; utilization of information on births and deaths; and training, teaching materials, and exchange of information. The national census and civil registration provides the essential information on the structure and composition of the population, including some information on births and deaths, but the needs of the health services for information on births and deaths are more extensive and are not fully met by the census or by a civil registration system. Additional and alternative methods for collecting this information are necessary. Recommendations are made in order to develop these alternative methods as effectively and expeditiously as possible.
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  2. 2

    Training: the key to quality data.


    Populi. 1979; 6(1):37-41.

    Since the function of the World Fertility Survey (WFS) is to help countries collect unbiased, cross-culturally comparable data on fertility, it is imperative that comprehensive and systematic training of survey personnel be undertaken. The first step in the initiation of a survey is to hold a discussion between WFS personnel and the organization sponsoring a survey in a particular country in order to determine personnel and training needs. WFS provides training assistance for all phases of data collection from sampling to coding, but the training of field supervisors and interviewers is viewed as the most crucial factor in conducting a quality survey. Most of the data collected in these surveys is done through interviewing a national sample of women of childbearing age in reference to marriage and birth patterns, contraceptive use, desired family size, and socioeconomic factors. The questionaires are fairly structured, but given the sensitive nature of the questions and the wide variation possible in responses, it is necessary to thoroughly train interviewers and their supervisors. Only women are recruited as interviewers. In the ideal situation only one center is used for training all personnel, and training time is approximately 5 weeks for supervisors and 3 weeks for interviewers. The training consists of a series of classroom lectures and role playing by the trainees, followed by practical field experience in which teams are sent out each day to nonsample areas to conduct interviews and then in the evening the results of the interviews are analyzed by the group. This intensive and prolonged training is costly, however, given the small sample size of most of the surveys, high quality data is essential. The long training period engenders in the participants a long lasting enthusiasm and interest in the work and the final training week is generally associated with a marked increment in the acquisition of interviewing skills. This intensive training has proved invaluable in the 30 countries where these surveys have been conducted.
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