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Alarm after registration services record low death numbers

By Kirera Mwiti
Tuesday, January 26th, 2021
Secretary Civil Registration Services Janet Mucheru with senior deputy director of medical services David Soti and David Otieno from WHO during a stakeholders meeting in Naivasha, yesterday. Photo/PD/KIRERA MWITI
In summary

The number of deaths recorded by the department of Civil Registration Services (CSR) in 2020 stands at 39 percent.

The department has termed the numbers as too low noting that 10s of deaths from Covid-19 last year could have gone unrecorded.

To address this, the CRS, Ministry and health and WHO have launched a Rapid Mortality Survey (RMS) in six pilot counties to establish the real number of deaths caused by the virus.

This emerged when CRS embarked on a training campaign targeting members of the provincial administration who have been keen in recording the deaths at grassroots levels.

According to CRS Secretary Ms Janet Mucheru, the exact number of people who died in the country from the pandemic was not known.

She noted that this was due to the low number of deaths reported last year adding that the Rapid Mortality Survey would help resolve this.

“Kenyans are slow in registering deaths and in 2020 only 39 percent of mortality cases were recorded meaning tens of deaths from other causes like Covid-19 could have been left out,”

Addressing the press in Lake Naivasha Resort when the training is going on, Mucheru said that the information would help in planning by updating their data.

“This survey will help us know the impact of Covid-19 based on one county to the other and also indicate the top killer diseases in the country,” she said.

On births, Mucheru noted that their registration was on the rise at 80 percent unlike deaths as a birth certificate as needed in schools and while acquiring an ID.

Senior deputy director of medical services Dr David Soti admitted that the current number of Covid-19 deaths could be higher compared to what was released on daily basis.

“The mortality data released by the ministry on daily basis is based on reports from health centers while those from the grassroots have not been captured,” he said.

He noted that as per data from the Ministry, the number of patients who visited hospitals in 2020 dropped to the lowest ever due to the crisis caused by the pandemic.

“In 2020, the number of patients to hospital dropped sharply and we also had tens of deaths in the grassroots areas that went unreported,” he said.

Soti noted that the Rapid Mortality Survey would help them in their planning adding that the mortality data would help the ministry in strengthening their systems.