Analysis of Completeness and Timeliness of Death Notification Data in Thika Level Five and Maragua Level Four Hospitals, Kenya

Dennis Mwenda, Zakayo Thaimuta


Death notification is important in the service of justice to the victims of crime, punishment of criminals, preparation of forensic policies, guidelines, regulations and planning. This data is captured in mandatory forms in a prescribed format. Death notification form (DNF) is one of the prescribed forms to record and report death. One of the commonly observed setbacks concerning this form is the turnaround time and omissions.

The objective of this study was to analyse the completeness and timeliness of death notification data in Thika Level Five and Maragua Level Four Hospitals. The study was a retrospective review of records and a cross-sectional survey conducted at Thika Level Five and Maragua Level Four Hospitals and civil registration departments in Murang’a and Kiambu Counties. We recruited fifty one clinicians (25 from Thika and 26 from Maragua hospitals) who are involved in filling the DNF. All the DNF certified by a qualified health professional at Thika Level Five and Maragua Level Four Hospitals for the year 2017 and filed with Civil Registrar of the respective counties were sampled for this study. Two thousand two hundred and forty four death notifications form (Thika Level Five, 1524 and Maragua Level Four, 720 Hospitals) and were accessed and an analysis on their completeness was done.

It was found out that most of the death notification forms: 75% in Thika Level Five and 62% for Maragua Level Four hospitals were not filled within 48 hours and 14% were left blank in both centres. This study revealed that 78% of death notification forms (DNF) were filed comprehensively. The common missing information on the DNF was information on underlying cause of death (35%) and source of the data used to fill the death notification forms (32%). There was a statistically significant relationship between the hospital where the forms were filled and timeliness in filling the forms (χ2=35.433, p=0.001). Regression analysis results revealed that hospital where the records are reported (p=0,001), qualifications of the certifier of forms (p=0.022), age of the deceased (p=0.014), gender of the deceased (p=0.015), underlying cause of death (p=0.001), intermediate cause of death (p=0.001), immediate cause of death (0.001) and source of the information used to fill the death notification forms (p=0.001) were statistically significant compared with completeness of the DNF.

Most facilities lack guidelines, trainings and provision of feedback on the filling of the death notification forms which affects their completeness and timeliness in filling. In all the studied hospitals it was concluded that it is necessary to harmonize how the death notification forms are filled in the hospitals. Clinicians who attend formal pre-training sessions have higher knowledge in filling the forms than those who have not been sensitized. There is no formal training or sensitization in both hospitals on DNF.

Keywords: Autopsy; Completeness; Death notification

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/101-22

Publication date:September 30th 2020

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