Commentary |

Large-Scale “Expert” Mortality Surveys in Conflicts—Concerns and Recommendations

Paul B. Spiegel, MD, MPH; Courtland Robinson, PhD
JAMA. 2010;304(5):567-568. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1094.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Several large-scale retrospective mortality surveys in conflict settings in Darfur,1 the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),2,3 Northern Uganda,4 and Iraq5,6 have had major political implications, and, thus, were scrutinized by policy makers, researchers, and the media.7,8 The controversies they generated led to serious criticism—some well-founded, some less so—that may have undermined the credibility of mortality surveys in conflict settings. For example, a 2006 survey5 estimated that more than 650 000 Iraqis died mostly from violence since the US-led invasion in 2003; in contrast, another study6 found a substantially lower estimate of violence-related deaths at approximately 151 000. A 2007 study3 estimated that 5.4 million have died in DRC since 1998; another report8 questioned the methods of this study and claimed that the excess death estimate was at least 3 times too high. Rebuttals from various sources and conflicting studies focused on sampling and nonsampling biases.7,8 Given these concerns, higher standards and improved methods are needed for undertaking and reporting large-scale mortality surveys.



Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles