Need to train doctors to certify, fill cause of death correctly, says Covid death audit panel | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Need to train doctors to certify, fill cause of death correctly, says Covid death audit panel

ByJyoti Shelar, Mumbai
Aug 07, 2021 08:49 PM IST

Recording the cause of death accurately on death certificates is crucial to know the actual all-cause mortality

Recording the cause of death accurately on death certificates is crucial to know the actual all-cause mortality. In a pandemic, correctly filled death certificates can present the real impact of the widespread infection. However, this crucial piece of a document known as the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) is often filled incorrectly by medical practitioners. The government and the medical fraternity are now devising ways in which the doctors can be trained in accurately certifying deaths.

The government and the medical fraternity are now devising ways in which the doctors can be trained in accurately certifying deaths. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)
The government and the medical fraternity are now devising ways in which the doctors can be trained in accurately certifying deaths. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

“Accurate cause of deaths is important to know the disease burden as well as all-cause mortality,” said Dr Avinash Supe, head of the Covid-19 death audit committee. “This data is crucial to prepare healthcare infrastructure and plan targetted interventions. But there is a dire need of training doctors to understand, certify and fill the cause of death correctly,” he said.

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Cardio-respiratory failure is one of the common causes mentioned on death certificates. Medical experts say that all deaths eventually occur due to a cardio-respiratory failure, but the cause and proper sequence of events have to be accurately noted. For instance, if a patient with severe diabetes has heart failure, the certificate could mention heart failure following a myocardial infarction because of uncontrolled diabetes.

In 2016, the state government, civic body and the Tata Memorial Centre collaborated with the Bloomberg Data for Health initiative to develop resources to train the doctors in writing the MCCD. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided technical help on the project and several training sessions were conducted based on the modules that were developed.

Taking a leap further, the TMC has launched a digital course on death certification on Friday. The course with 11 different modules will soon be made available in Marathi and Hindi so that doctors on the grassroots can benefit from it.

“The primary goal of this digitised education module is to improve the competence of the medical fraternity, be it physicians or students in rural or metro areas to ensure that they are competent in providing a correct, complete and timely cause of death certifications,” said Dr Rajesh Dikshit, Director of Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, TMC.

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