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Expert Talks

This video series features interviews with civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems experts from around the world.

  • What are CRVS systems and why do they matter?
  • How can we enhance and improve them for better results?
  • And what can we learn from other countries’ experiences?

Our video series explores all these questions—and offers valuable insights.

About CRVS systems

Find out more about CRVS systems, how they function, and why they are so important to both individuals and government in this series of interviews.

  • 3:41
    CRVS systems at a glance
    This interview with Srdjan Mrkić, an expert at the United Nations Statistics Division, explains CRVS systems and their importance.
  • 3:18
    The power of death statistics to improve lives
    Routine death statistics offer important data to identify new conditions and track success in reducing disease. Learn more from Prabhat Jha of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in this interview.
  • 2:47
    CRVS systems explained
    Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems play an important role in every individual’s life, and provide crucial data for government service delivery. Find out more in this interview with international CRVS consultant, Gopalan Balagopal.
  • 2:03
    The importance of registering births, marriages and deaths
    Why register births, marriages, and deaths? Nadya Kassam, formerly with the United Nations Children’s Fund, provides the answers in this interview. She discusses how the system can help government strategically plan for health and educational purposes. Importantly, the system also provides citizens with legal proof of identity.

How to improve CRVS systems

Experts share their experiences and offer advice to help countries improve civil registration and vital statistics systems. Discover the tools and techniques that can lead to stronger CRVS systems.

  • 3:17
    Important steps to improve CRVS systems
    Samuel Mills, an expert from the World Bank Group, outlines important steps — such as prioritizing activities and reviewing legislation — to build high functioning CRVS systems.
  • 3:53
    Overcoming the challenges facing CRVS systems
    In this interview with the University of Melbourne’s Carla AbouZahr, she explores the challenges facing civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems and how to overcome them. These challenges include inherited legal frameworks, relying on people to register themselves, and lack of adequate resources.
  • 2:12
    Strengthening national CRVS systems using public health campaigns
    How can a country strengthen civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in innovative ways? Nadya Kassam, formerly with the United Nations Children’s Fund, describes how linking birth registration with immunization or nutrition campaigns can dramatically improve birth registration coverage.
  • 2:43
    Integrating health and civil registration data
    In this interview with Edward Duffus of Plan International, he explains the value of integrating health system data with the civil registration process. He also explores tools for improving civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) processes.
  • 4:42
    Capturing cause of deaths outside health facilities through verbal autopsies
    Verbal autopsy plays a vital role in identifying the cause of deaths that occur outside health facilities. Philip Setel of Vital Strategies – a Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health initiative partner – describes how verbal autopsy can improve policy-making and planning in developing countries.
  • 2:50
    How the Global Financing Facility supports CRVS system strengthening
    The Global Financing Facility supports efforts to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. Learn more about the role it plays from Maletela Tuoane-Nkhasi of the Global Financing Facility Secretariat.
  • 3:36
    Navigating the digitalization of national CRVS systems
    Digital technologies offer unique opportunities to improve civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. There are also challenges. Learn about both in this interview with Edward Duffus of Plan International.
  • 3:43
    The makings of successful CRVS systems
    For civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems to work well, countries must consider the key users they serve – individuals and government decision-makers. In this interview with Carla AbouZhar of the University of Melbourne, learn about the need for government commitment, communication between ministries, and public trust to make CRVS systems work.
  • 2:49
    The fundamentals of a CRVS system
    What are the basic requirements for a civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system to work well? Find out in this interview with international CRVS consultant, Gopalan Balagopal, who lists a legal framework, a registration structure, and a system that can capture events outside of hospitals.

Case studies and successes in CRVS reform

Cambodia, New Zealand, Peru, Uganda, and others offer important lessons in strengthening civil registration and vital statistics systems. These interviews feature innovative case studies that have led to new and improved CRVS approaches.

  • 4:14
    How the Government of Uganda strengthened its CRVS system
    Find out how one Ugandan hospital allows new parents to leave with their child’s birth certificate in-hand. Gopalan Balagopal, international civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) consultant, explains why this is an effective way to increase birth registration coverage.
  • 1:41
    New Zealand’s digitalized CRVS system
    Explore New Zealand’s experience in moving to an online birth registration system. Jeff Montgomery, the country’s Registrar General, explains how the transition resulted in 90% of births registered online within the first 12 months of launching the system.
  • 3:17
    Linking civil registration, identification, and social programs in Peru
    Strong civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems equip countries with the evidence they need to improve social, health, and education programs. Learn from Peru’s experience in this interview with Felix Ortega de la Torre of Peru’s National Registry of Identity and Civil Statistics.
  • 4:18
    How verbal autopsies in India helped to inform decision-making in health care
    Find out how verbal autopsies in India helped to inform decision-making in health care in this interview with Prabhat Jha of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
  • 2:54
    Linking civil registration and ID management in Botswana
    Botswana understands the value of strong civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. The country has successfully linked civil registration and ID management, and recognized the importance of having registration officers in hospitals. Learn more in this interview with Neo Corneliah Lepang, from the Botswana Department of Civil and National Registration.
  • 5:49
    Lessons from Côte d’Ivoire for strengthening CRVS systems in post-conflict societies
    Discover the role of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in building public trust in post-conflict societies. Irina Dincu from the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems shares insights from her experience working in Côte d’Ivoire, where political will and mobile tribunals were central to rebuilding CRVS systems.
  • 5:00
    How Cambodia jumpstarted its CRVS system
    Learn how post-conflict Cambodia cleared civil registration backlogs by providing free, time-bound registration. In this interview with Irina Dincu from the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems, you’ll hear how United Nations volunteers helped build public trust in communities to support registration campaigns and clinics.
  • 4:32
    Making civil registration accessible to all
    Access to civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems is critical. Discover why in this interview with Nicholas Oakeshott from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He explores UNHCR experiences in the Philippines and Thailand as examples of building civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems that increase access for vulnerable populations.
  • 1:42
    The Importance of CRVS Systems
    For Felix Ortega de la Torre, from Peru’s National Registry of Identity and Civil Statistics, civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) offers an essential proof of identity for citizens and a source of data for governments. It is also a way to combat fraud in the private sector. Find out more in this interview.