The national Trachoma Surveillance Report is produced annually, usually around six to nine months after the end of the calendar year to which the report relates. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the data supplied through the surveillance system. A number of stakeholders indicated that the lag in the release of the report was a problem. One factor impacting the lag is that data provided by jurisdictional and regional co-ordinators are often not finalised until around three months after the end of the calendar year. Other factors contributing to the lag include data quality checks.

We believe that the lags in national reporting could be reduced considerably. This will require cooperation between the NTSRU and jurisdictional and regional coordinators in identifying factors that delay the provision of data. Establishing a web based reporting arrangement should allow data to be updated progressively through the year, and any data quality issues actioned immediately. Finally, the NTSRU could examine opportunities for reducing the time between the receipt of final data and the production of the report.

R19: It is recommended that the lag in the preparation of the national report be reduced through the jurisdictional and regional co-ordinators identifying and addressing the factors that contribute to late provision of data to the NTSRU; the implementation of web based data collection mechanisms (see R18) that facilitate earlier resolution of data quality issues; and the NTSRU examining opportunities to more rapidly produce the final report.

One issue that requires resolution is the fact that jurisdictional and regional coordinators have not been able to generate reports from the Access database using the data they have entered locally. This issue could easily be addressed within the existing database, or through a new web-based system, by the development of relevant queries and pivot tables that would provide data in a flexible form for users, no matter the level of their computer skills. The reports could provide full detail of local data and appropriate (de-identified) data for benchmarking and performance improvement purposes derived from analyses of the full national data set.

R20: It is recommended that a flexible set of reports/pivot tables be made available to jurisdictional/regional coordinators through the existing Access database or the new web based system.

Another area of weakness in national reporting is that there are only limited ways in which estimates of prevalence can be linked to information on environmental conditions within specific communities. This issue was discussed previously, and recommendation R14 proposes a mechanism through which data on housing and environmental conditions could be available for analysis. As a result, the national report could be enhanced to include analyses of the relationships between housing and environmental factors and trachoma prevalence.

R21: It is recommended that, following the implementation of recommendation R14, the national surveillance report include analyses of the relationships between housing and environmental factors and trachoma prevalence. top of page