Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Lack of expert training in death cert issuance

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong has revealed that in many developing countries, doctors do not receive sufficient training on how to accurately certify deaths.

Speaking at the Medical Certification of Cause of Death Training, Dr Fong said having the knowledge about how to write out a proper ‘death certificate’ is important as having death certificates saves lives as it enables us to identify new and trending diseases and take appropriate action.

Fong said, for example, if someone is living or working in a building with a poorly installed or maintained furnace, they may be exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide that could eventually cause fatal cardiac and respiratory failure.

He said the cause of death might be recorded as cardiac arrest, but in fact was a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, and the presence of the faulty appliance would likely be missed and could result in further causalities.

“Medical certification of cause of death is a key source of mortality statistics. The death certificate is a permanent record of the fact and characteristics of death.”

“It provides important personal information about decedent, the circumstances and the cause of death,” Dr Fong said.

The Ministry of Health said according to the World Health Organisation rules adopted by the World Health Assembly regarding the selection of a single cause or condition, from death certificates, for the routine tabulation of mortality statistics are provided to standardize the production of mortality data.

He added that death certificates should be completed by medical doctor’s in alignment with international standards and practices.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com


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