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The Anthropological Demography of Health$
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Véronique Petit, Kaveri Qureshi, Yves Charbit, and Philip Kreager

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198862437

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198862437.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

Verbal Autopsy Interview Standardization Study

Verbal Autopsy Interview Standardization Study

A report from the field

(p.301) 11 Verbal Autopsy Interview Standardization Study
The Anthropological Demography of Health

Clarissa Surek-Clark

Oxford University Press

Verbal autopsy is a widely known method used for epidemiological and vital registration purposes by demographic surveillance sites throughout the developing world. While the interview assessing causes of death may be conducted and recorded in local languages, the information collected in survey instruments and used by medical personnel as a starting point for analysis is often in English, or other colonial languages. Given the thus far unexplored role of the fieldworker as an interpreter and cultural mediator, ethnographic field work was conducted in six Health and Demographic Surveillance sites in Sub-Saharan Africa that participate in the Alpha Network, with the aim to understand linguistic, cultural, and survey administration practices during each site’s ongoing Verbal Autopsy interview process. This chapter reports on initial results from the study, including challenges faced by the Verbal Autopsy teams, as well as providing initial solutions applicable to professionals interested in health and language methodology.

Keywords:   ALPHA Network, cause-of-death registration, demographic and health surveillance systems, ethnography, interviewing bias, linguistics, mortality, sub-Saharan Africa

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