A simple and inexpensive method for monitoring child mortality in association with birth registration was introduced into the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Eight thousand two hundred and one newborn infants were registered in 1988, approximately 77% of all children born in that year. The risk of death by age 2 was determined from reports given by the mother on the present status of a previously born child at the time of a recent delivery or during clinic registration of the current birth. This was 91 per 1000 for the province and corresponds to a risk of death by age 1 of 77/1000 by extrapolation using standard lifetables. This method was validated by comparison with a continuing demographic surveillance system covering 30,000 people in the western part of the province. The new birth certificate has been an incentive to increase supervised delivery rates and to generate a register that can be used to increase vaccination coverage.