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Lessons learned in legal reform and notification of vital events: experiences from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative

This article shares lessons learned through implementing the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative. The Initiative provides technical support to countries and cities in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific to collect and use better public health data. One component of the Initiative was aimed at strengthening civil registration and vital statistics systems to address the fact that many low- and middle-income countries do not capture all vital events occurring within their territory and do not produce information of reliable quality about causes of death. Without this information, governments lack a clear picture of population trends as well as the mortality profile in their countries and, therefore, cannot make evidence-based decisions on how to direct scarce resources. The article focuses on two important aspects of the Initiative’s work in multiple countries and cities: legal and regulatory review and reform, and notification of vital events.