Verbal autopsies used in push to better track global deaths

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CHRISTINA LARSON and MIKE STOBBE Associated Press KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — One afternoon last month, a young woman with a tablet computer sat next to Alphonsine Umurerwa on the living room couch, asking questions, listening carefully. She learned that the woman's 23-year-old daughter, Sandrine Umwungeri, had been very sick for about a year, gradually becoming so weak she stopped leaving their tin-roofed home in a hilly section of Rwanda's capital city. The family thought she had malaria. Medicines from a local pharmacy didn't help. In March, she died. The interviewer asked: When did Sandrine begin to feel weak? Did she have a fever? Did her skin take on a yellow hue? Each typed answer determined the next question to pose, like following a phone tree. This was a "verbal autopsy" — a
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