Quality of cause of death certification at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town
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Cause of death certification continues to be a useful tool in obtaining demographic, epidemiological and legal information. However errors in death certification are widespread and range from incomplete certificates to inaccurate causes and manners of death. The accuracy of the immediate and underlying causes of death listed on the death certificate depends to a large extent on the doctor and his or her understanding of the guidelines for reporting immediate and underlying causes of death. In 1998, South Africa adopted a new death certificate as per the format proposed by WHO. However, several studies have identified problems in the quality of cause of death certification. Furthermore, analysis of cause of death data suggested extensive underreporting of HIV as an underlying cause of death.