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The ‘Ten CRVS Milestones’ framework for understanding Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems
  1. Daniel Cobos Muñoz1,2,
  2. Carla Abouzahr3,
  3. Don de Savigny1,2,4
  1. 1 Epidemilogy and Public Health Department, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland
  2. 2 University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  3. 3 CAZ Consulting, Geneva, Switzerland
  4. 4 Global Burden of Disease Group, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Cobos Muñoz; daniel.cobos{at}

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  • Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems are complex adaptive systems involving multiple stakeholders in different government agencies (at a minimum, ministry of health, civil registration authority and national statistics office).

  • CRVS systems not only generate data, but also offer a gateway to services that people need, such as identity, legal entitlements, access to essential services and social protection.

  • To date most attempts to strengthen CRVS systems have been ad hoc and reductionist, focused on single components of the system and introducing short-term technical fixes such as assessment, digitization of administrative tasks, advocacy and training.

  • The potential of new technologies to bring CRVS systems to acceptable levels of coverage and quality can be realised only if structural bottlenecks are dealt with and system-wide actions are taken to ensure scale up and sustainability.

  • The ‘Ten CRVS Milestones’ framework is designed to help CRVS stakeholders—policy-makers, managers and development partners—better understand how CRVS systems function as a whole, from end-to-end, by describing the key processes that must be accomplished in any CRVS system.

  • The ‘Ten CRVS Milestones’ framework, used as part of the CRVS assessment and during the design and integration of new interventions, encourages CRVS stakeholders to have a systemic approach to all the essential steps needed for the system to be fully operational.

All countries need timely and complete national vital statistics, the cornerstone for population and socioeconomic policies. For the health sector in particular, reliable data on how many people are born, how many die and why are fundamental to decision-making, health systems planning and resource allocation. Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, unlike periodic surveys and other methods to estimate mortality and fertility statistics, provide a continuous, real-time and locally representative flow of information that permits governments to plan and monitor progress in health and social development.1 …

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