AY Faudzi, NM Amal, AO Zainal, I Lailanor, H Sirajuddin and MA Taha (2011). Improvement in medically certified death: results from a pilot study in the State of Malacca, Malaysia. Medical Journal of Malaysia 66(1): 26-29
A systematic approach to death registration and reporting is essential for studies and comparison within or between countries. One of the accepted methods in the system is to have medically certified death. The objective of this study was to improve the proportion of medically certified death (MCD) in the state of Malacca. Structured questionnaires were used by Medical Assistants (MAs) in the investigation of the cause of death for non-medically certified deaths. Data on certification of death by MAs in Malacca was analysed and compared with the total deaths obtained from the Department of Statistics. Possible determinants of deaths were investigated. Total deaths in the state of Malacca during the study period from 2000 – 2001 were 5941. About 35% (883/2493) of the total deaths in year 2000 and 45% (1550/3448) in 2001 certified by MAs were examined. By districts, 50.6% were certified in the district of Malacca Tengah, 13.4% Jasin and 36.0% Alor Gajah in 2000; 65.9% occurred in Malacca Tengah, 11.0% Jasin and 23.2% Alor Gajah in 2001. This project helped to increase the percentage of the medically certified deaths in Malacca from 49.8% in year 1998, 49% in 1999 to 73% in 2000 and 85% in 2001. The proportion of MCD in Malacca in 2000 (73%) may be increased to 93% if all MCDs done by MAs were accepted by the Department of Statistics. There is still a high proportion (23.6%) of ill-defined conditions such as old age and sudden death being diagnosed by MAs. The study shows that the quality of mortality data particularly in the percentage of medically certified deaths can be improved.