Medical certification of cause of deaths is low in Nagaland

Morung Express News
Kohima | September 7

With 20 lakh population, Nagaland could certify only 927 causes of deaths from the period 2018 till March 31, 2022, ranking it 31st at the national level on the performances of various states in 2020.

Dr Ravikant Singh, Officer in-charge, HBCH & RC, Muzaffarpur explained why it is important for Medical Certification Cause of Death (MCCD) mentioning the exact cause of death in the certificate.

Speaking at the launching of the state level programme on MCCD & Affordable Cancer Care Project at Hotel Vivor on September 7, Singh said this enables policy makers to understand its community health. This in turn, he maintained helps policy makers to formulate polices by setting priorities for intervention.

Towards affordable cancer care project, he informed that in the first phase Kohima and Mokokchung has been selected by the Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai in an effort to bring affordable care services nearer to the doorstep of the people.

This encompasses training of medical staff on cancer screening process and also setting up some chemotherapy centers in the state in collaboration with the state health department.

Request for low cost treatment services
Guest speaker, Chief Secretary, J Alam said while lots of improvements have come about in the health care services in the past few years, lots of work is going on for improvement of public health and services.  He also informed that out of the 79 projects approved during the recently concluded CSR Conclave, 50 projects were related to health sectors with 17 projects relatively prominent for health care amounting to 25 crores.

Alam expressed that the projects would be implemented in the right spirit so the people are benefitted out of these. Expressing his concern on the out of pocket expenditures on health care services, particularly towards major diseases treatment, where people are often pushed to poverty, Alam requested the Tata Memorial Center which could be part of the existing district hospitals or the upcoming medical colleges.

Suggesting low cost health facilities and services, particularly for cancer treatment, he assured all possible support and assistance from the State Government to work out things with the concern authorities.

The Chief Secretary also launched two booklets on ‘training manual for doctors, affordable cancer care and manual on medical certification of cause of death.’

Need improvement in registration of deaths
Commissioner & Secretary, Economics & Statistics, School Education & SCERT, Kevileno Angami said births and deaths are two vital events in a person’s existence. 

“While recording of births and deaths give a legal existence for a person, the record of data is an important input for policy formulation and planners and professionals,” she pointed out. Angami also informed that there are about 1468 registrars in the state inclusive of school teachers in the villages, registration units of births and deaths in the district hospitals, CHCs and PHCs.

She admitted that the registration of births is relatively good in the state however, admitted “very low” in terms of death registration, as she observed that “unless there is a reason people don’t forward for registration of deaths.”

While emphasising on the need for improvement in this grey area, Angami maintained that “an insight into the cause of death will give us reason to introspect why it is happening and enable the policy makers to formulate plans so that medical services reaches to the people.”

Liver disease leading cause of death
Liver disease tops the five leading cause of death by major disease in the state followed by circulatory system, new disease of uncertain etiology, certain infectious and parasitic diseases and perinatal period.

This was informed by Dr V Khamo, Principal Investigator, Naga Hospital Kohima, Nagaland who conducted a research along with Dr Mhashevisu Sothu, Co- Principal Investigator on ‘Pilot Project on Implementation of MCCD using NCDIR e-MOR Software in Naga Hospital, Kohima, Nagaland.’

Mentioning some of the challenges in implementation of MCCD, one reason is the absence of mortality board while data is manually collected and death certificate is not made mandatory for disposal of body.

Among others, she pointed out there is incomplete details of cause of death (immediate, antecedent) and other significant causes contributing to the death and interval between onset of the disease and death is never recorded.

The three day programme was jointly organised by the Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai, Department of Health & Family Welfare and Department of Economics & Statistics.