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Historically, the main sources of information on the health conditions of the population are based on administrative birth and death data. In fact, civil status registers are not only the main source of demographic statistics, but also play an extraordinarily important role in the production of public health statistics.

From the 19th century onwards all European countries used these registries to establish a good level of civil status statistics. Italy also used this source as starting point for ongoing and exhaustive information on healthcare; ISTAT surveys on causes of death, as derived from civil status registers, are still the main source for epidemiological data covering the whole national territory. 

Monitoring systems with obligatory notification of contagious diseases have had a particular importance in healthcare until improvements in general living conditions and the spread of hygiene regulations have resulted in a drastic reduction in epidemics and therefore a fall in mortality rates... full text

 

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