According to the CDC guidelines acceptability “reflects the willingness of persons and organisations to participate in the surveillance system”. It is related to whether it is perceived that the information collected serves the goal of the system (in this case to reduce the burden of trachoma amongst Australia’s Indigenous people), or other purposes such as bureaucratic or political requirements. It is also related to the usefulness of the information for decision making at local as well as higher levels of the health care system.

In the current system, acceptability was generally not an issue amongst stakeholders. There were no instances where stakeholders refused to participate in trachoma surveillance activities. However, stakeholders reported situations where trachoma surveillance was seen as a low priority. These situations were mainly in low prevalence populations where local staff were concerned with health issues they perceived as needing greater attention than trachoma, or where trachoma was thought not to be an issue (such as in New South Wales and Queensland). Low resourcing also limited the frequency within which some communities were screened, whether all at risk communities were screened (which is often not the case), and timely completion and submission of data.

Findings: With respect to the acceptability component of the current national trachoma surveillance system, the evaluation concludes that:

  • the current system is generally accepted by stakeholders in that all jurisdictions with communities with endemic trachoma participate in surveillance and control activities; and
  • acceptability can be enhanced by the creation of a capacity to retrieve flexible user defined reports from the NTSRU access database, immediately following data entry.top of page