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JAMMU: A two day training- cum workshop on Verbal Autopsy was inaugurated on 14thMarch by Sh. Basharat Saleem, IAS, Director of Census operations J&K at Conference Hall of Preventive & Social Medicine Department of Government Medical College Jammu, emphasizing the importance and rationale of Civil Registration System, Sample Registration System and need for Verbal Autopsy to estimate the proportional causes of death in India.

Shri Basharat Saleem in his inaugural address as a chief guest highlighted that the importance of data collection during the forthcoming Census 2021, the intricacies and accuracy in collection of data with help of information technology will be the key to success for all of us. This will be of immense value not only for India but also for the Global community, which is eagerly waiting for the release of the vast and diverse variety of Indian population data.

Dr. Dinesh Kumar, HOD, Preventive & Social Medicine, Government Medical College, Jammu in his key note address called for two way interaction from the participating Supervisors as well as the faculty members, resource persons and facilitators. He said that this workshop has been organized in collaboration with AIIMS Verbal Autopsy Network (MINErVA). He highlighted that because of the resource crunch, trained non-medical surveyors will prove to be  a boon for generating good quality of data during the conduct of VA interviews. The experience in India and other countries have shown encouraging trends in this regard. Dr. Dinesh Kumar said that he is confident that the outcome of the workshop will prove to be useful to all the research fellows in analyzing the causes of death. Dr. Rakesh Bahl, Assosiate Professor was also present on the occasion.

It is pertinent here to mention that the training of supervisors of Directorate of Census Operations J&K for canvassing the Verbal Autopsy forms is a part of the Sample Registration System (SRS) survey which is a large-scale Demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimate of Infant mortality rate, Birth rate, Death rate and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and sub-national levels. The SRS which became fully operational from the year 1969-70 in our country which currently covers about 7.6 million populations across all states and Union territories of India.

For all the death events covered in the SRS survey, Verbal Autopsy is carried out by the supervisors. On the first day of the workshop writing a good narrative using the key symptoms list, communication and interviewing skills, evaluation and mock VA interviews were discussed in detail. Four teams of the participants would be visiting in the SRS field units on 15 March, 2019 to actually canvass the VA forms designed for the purpose.

Dr. Bhavna Sahni, Asst. Professor, Department of PSM co ordinated the entire workshop with the help of Dr Deepika Dewan, Dr Anjum Ara, Dr Najma Akhter , Dr Shalli Bavoria and post graduates from the department. Shri Rajesh N Malvia, Joint Director and Shri Dheeraj Kumar Johar, Asst Director of the Directorate of Census Operations J & K were instrumental in organizing the workshop. Shri S. S. Sharma, Dy. Director, Shri Ganaprakasam, Asst. Director and Mr. M.S. Loomba were also present during the workshop.

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