Review of errors in the issue of medical certificates of cause of death in a tertiary hospital in Ghana

  • Patrick K. Akakpo
  • Yaw A. Awuku
  • Leonard Derkyi-Kwarteng
  • Kelvin A. Gyamera
  • Sebastian Eliason
Keywords: Errors, Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, Ghana

Abstract

Objective; Reliable mortality statistics are useful in determining national policies on preventive and interventional medicine. This study reviews, completed medical certificates of cause of death at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, in order to determine their accuracy and reliability.

Methods: A one-year review of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCD) signed between 01-01-2013 and 31-12-2013 in the medical, pediatric, surgical and obstetrics/gynecology departments of Cape Coast Teaching Hospital were done, analyzing for errors using the WHO/ICD-10 guidelines as the standard. The errors were grouped into minor and major errors.

Results: In all, 337 medical certificates of cause of death were audited. Majority, 212(62.9%) were issued in the internal medicine and therapeutics department. 30.86% (104) MCCDs were completed by specialists while 69.14% (233) were completed by non-specialist medical officers. Over half (56.68%) of the MCCDs had major errors while all (100%) had at least one minor error.

Conclusion: Our study showed significant errors in MCCD records, with the errors more likely in certificates issued by non-specialist medical officers. All the certificates audited had at least one minor error. Training of doctors on proper completion of MCCDs is strongly advocated.

Funding: None of the authors received any financial support for this study.

Keywords: Errors, Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, Ghana

Published
2017-04-30
Section
Articles

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print ISSN: 0016-9560