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Table 1 What is a civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system?

From: Reducing ignorance about who dies of what: research and innovation to strengthen CRVS systems

Civil registration is a process of officially recording the principal vital events in a population. Vital events include births, deaths, marriages, divorces and migration. A CRVS system is defined as the continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of the occurrence and characteristics of vital events in a population, in accordance with the legal requirements of the country.
For public health policy, the primary information of interest is knowledge of the fact of death, accompanied by demographic information, and information about the cause of death. Information about the cause of death, as certified by a trained physician and coded according to the rules and procedures of the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD; currently ICD-10).
In many countries, the office of the civil registrar maintains the records and registers containing information about vital events and issues legal certificates to entitled claimants on demand. This legal documentation can be used to support claims of nationality, identity, civil status and family relationships.
In addition to this legal function, the information collected through the civil registration system is aggregated, analysed and disseminated in the form of vital statistics for the population. These data are crucial for population health policy and planning purposes. Reliable and timely data from CRVS systems are necessary for countries to reliably assess trends in the burden of disease and to measure, monitor and evaluate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.