The experience reported in an earlier Eurosurveillance issue on a fast method to evaluate the impact of the 2003 heatwave on mortality in Portugal, generated a daily mortality surveillance system (VDM) that has been operating ever since jointly with the Portuguese Heat Health Watch Warning System. This work describes the VDM system and how it evolved to become an automated system operating year-round, and shows briefly its potential using mortality data from January 2006 to June 2009 collected by the system itself. The new system has important advantages such as: rapid information acquisition, completeness (the entire population is included), lightness (very little information is exchanged, date of death, age, sex, place of death registration). It allows rapid detection of impacts (within five days) and allows a quick preliminary quantification of impacts that usually took several years to be done. These characteristics make this system a powerful tool for public health action. The VDM system also represents an example of inter-institutional cooperation, bringing together organisations from two different ministries, Health and Justice, aiming at improving knowledge about the mortality in the population.
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2010|