“Underestimated female deaths may skew estimates of the impact of Covid”, Health News, ET HealthWorld
For the study, published in the “International Journal for Equity in Health” by BioMed Central on August 31, the researchers compiled death registration data from civil registration reports between 2000 and 2018 and used a statistical analysis – the empirical completeness method – to estimate how far deaths have been recorded and whether state and gender inequalities have narrowed or widened.
They found that the estimated completeness of death registration increased from 58% in 2000 to 81% in 2018. Data categorized by sex was only available from 2009, which according to researchers, depended on the quality of the compilation of data by States. Since then, the completeness of male death records has increased from 60% to 85%, but that of female death records from 54% to only 74%.
“This is a significant difference and it is important for two reasons. First, it means that official registration of female deaths is less common than for male deaths, although registration of deaths is mandatory. This means that families are less likely to receive an official death certificate for a female death, ”corresponding author Dr Timothy Adair told TOI.
“Second, it means that a higher proportion of female deaths go unreported and therefore we know less about patterns of female versus male mortality. Accurate measurement of mortality is important for monitoring trends in population health, including measuring excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. If female mortality during the pandemic is underreported relative to male mortality, then the impact of the pandemic on female mortality would be underestimated. “
The differences between states are glaring. In Rajasthan, the latest study estimates show that the completeness of men was 87%, while that of women was only 62%, a difference of 25 percentage points, the highest in the country. Arunachal Pradesh came next (22 percentage point difference), followed by Madhya Pradesh (17), Assam (14), Mizoram (13) and Uttarakhand (12).
There were outliers. In Sikkim, the completeness of women (95%) exceeded that of the records of men (87%), a difference of 8 percentage points. Nagaland came next (4 points difference), then Jammu & Kashmir (2), Meghalaya (2) and Odisha (1). “Social and cultural factors can interact with the characteristics of the national death registration system to create barriers to the registration of female deaths. A death must be registered before a death certificate can be issued. A death certificate is required for inheritance issues related to property and social security / insurance, ”said Adair.
“Another problem is that a higher proportion of male than female deaths occur in hospitals, where deaths are more likely to be recorded than if they occur at home. Achieving more equitable levels of death registration between men and women requires reducing barriers to death registration.