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Health Demographic Statistics In Zambia Essay

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Accurate, reliable and timely data is critical to assessing the geographical burden of disease in developing public health initiatives. It is on this accuracy that health policies should be anchored because they are a critical component to kick starting a well organized, strategic health program. We live in an era of unprecedented technological advancement, which has provided us with increased access to data. However, just because data has become more available does not mean that all data is accurate and reliable. This is particularly true for developing countries like Zambia. Health policies based on data from dysfunctional vital registration systems are most likely not the best way to address our health problem in this resource-constrained country of ours. To achieve accuracy, reliability and timeliness, there is need for proper collection of vital statistics that are relevant to the planning process. However, due to inefficiency in the collection of vital statistics through civil registrations in developing countries, other programs have been put in place to compensate the shortfall in the data collection process especially with respect to the collection of health statistics. One such program is the demographic surveillance system. The intent of this essay is to give a critical analysis of the contents of the demographic surveillance system and that of its subset, the sentinel system. It aims to analyze whether or not these systems have worked for Zambia.

Surveillance is a core public health function that ensures the right information is available at the right time and in the right place to inform public health decisions and actions. Demographic surveillance system on the other hand is basically the continuous, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health related data needed for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public policy and health practices (World Health Organization, 2014). It is a longitudinal, population-based health and vital event registration...

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