'Verbal autopsies' phone app to improve death records
4 October 2013 Last updated at 17:11 BST
Two thirds of deaths worldwide go completely unrecorded, making it impossible to know whether public health money is being spent in the right places.
In Malawi, any death that occurs outside a medical facility is not recorded. But now a specialist mobile phone app is being used to build a more accurate picture of the nation's health.
The World Health Organization is already supporting the initiative, which has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of global health.
Anne Soy reports from Malawi.