Objectives: Vital statistics generated by the Civil Registration System (CRS) are essential for developing healthcare interventions at all administrative levels. Bihar had one of the lowest levels of mortality registration among India's states. This study investigates CRS's performance barriers from the perspective of CRS staff and community members in Bihar.
Methods: We conducted a primary qualitative survey in the two districts of Bihar during February-March 2020 with CRS staff (n = 15) and community members (n = 90). We purposively selected the Patna and Vaishali districts of Bihar for the survey. Thematic analysis was done to identify the pattern across the data using the Atlas-ti software.
Results: Most participants showed a good understanding of registration procedures and birth and death registration benefits. The perceived need for death registration is lower than birth registration. Birth registration was higher among female children than male children. We found that most participants did not report children or adult female death due to lack of financial or property-related benefits. Most participants faced challenges in reporting birth and death due to poor delivery of services at the registration centres, higher indirect opportunity cost, and demand of bribes by the CRS staff for providing certificates. We found a lack of adequate investment, shortage of dedicated staff, and limited computer and internet services at the registration centres.
Conclusions: Poor data on birth and death registration could lead decision-makers to target health services inappropriately. Strengthening health institutions' linkage with the registration centres, mobile registration in far-flung areas and regular CRS staff training could increase death registration levels. An adequate awareness campaign on the benefits of birth and death registration is required to increase the reporting of vital events.