Million Death Study (MDS)

Million Death Study

The Million Death Study (MDS) is one of the largest studies of premature mortality in the world. The MDS is an ongoing study that is conducted in India, where, like most low- and middle-income countries, the majority of deaths occur at home and without medical attention. As a result, the majority of global deaths do not have a certified cause.

In collaboration with the Registrar General of India, the MDS will monitor nearly 14 million people in 2.4 million nationally representative households in India between 1998-2014. Any deaths that occur in these households during this period will be assigned a probable cause, as determined by a method called verbal autopsy.

The results for the leading causes of death in India will be provided to governments, research agencies, and media as they become available so that they can take action against preventable deaths.

MDS Study Protocol
MDS Collaborators
MDS Publications


Working groups of internal and external scientists are reviewing the MDS results as they become available to provide guidance and data interpretation. Current groups are active in the following areas (membership is updated frequently):

  • Maternal and Child Health
    Working Group: Rajesh Kumar (chair), Shally Awasthi, Robert E. Black, Prabhat Jha, Bhaskar Mishra, Ann Montgomery, Shaun Morris, Vinod K. Paul, Usha Ram, Siddarth Ramji, Sandip Roy, Anita Shet, Mani Subramaniyam
  • Alcohol
    Working Group: Prabhat Jha (chair), Neeraj Bhala, Prakash Bhatia, Rajesh Dikshit, Vendhan Gajalakshmi, Prakash C. Gupta, Rajesh Kumar, Richard Peto, Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, Dhirendra Sinha
  • Cancer
    Working Group: Rajesh Dikshit (chair), Lukasz Aleksandrowicz, Hellen Gelband, Prakash C. Gupta, Prabhat Jha, Richard Peto, Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, Dhirendra Sinha
  • Cardiovascular Disease
    Working Group: Rajeev Gupta and D. Prabkaharan (co-chairs), Onil Bhattacharya, Niteesh Choudhury, Dean T. Jamison, Prabhat Jha, Rajesh Kumar, Prem Mony, Rachel Nugent, Denis Xavier
  • Injuries
    Working Group: JS Thakur (chair), Marvin Hsiao, Jagnoor Jagnoor, Prabhat Jha, Ajai Malhotra, Vikram Patel
  • Malaria
    Working Group: Vinod P. Sharma (chair), Alan Cohen, Neeraj Dhingra, Prabhat Jha, Raju M. Jotkar, Ramanan Laxminaryan, SK Mishra, Richard Peto
  • Suicide
    Working Group: Vikram Patel (chair), Vendhan Gajalakshmi, G Gururaj, Prabhat Jha, Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, K Srinivasan, Lakshmi Vijayakumar