HealthConsult working in partnership with Health Policy Analysis undertook the project in five stages as set out below.

  1. Detailed project planning: we met with the Project Management Team on 20th January, 2010 to receive an initial briefing, to finalise the parameters for the project including communication process,stakeholders to be consulted, consultative process to be used, and identification of information sources. A detailed project plan was then prepared and submitted to the Project Manager for approval on the 25th January, 2010.

  2. Documentation and literature review: we met with relevant staff of the OATSIH to ensure that we understood the history of trachoma management and control in Australia, including theoperation of relevant programs, and to assess the available data on the programs (and any related initiatives). We reviewed the documentation provided (as part of stage 1) and prepared a preliminary description of the surveillance system against the headings used in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines for Evaluating Public Health Surveillance Systems1. We searched the national and international literature on best practice in public health surveillance systems targeted at Indigenous people (and people living in remote and isolated areas). We then consolidated all the material to produce the documentation and literature review report which was presented as part of the interim report provided to the Project Management Team in preliminary draft form on 8th March, 2010.top of page

  3. Stakeholder consultation: we prepared a short discussion paper, which was distributed to key stakeholders as basis for consultations. The discussion paper drew on the CDC Evaluation Guidelines toensure that stakeholders were aware of the issues against which we wished to gather information for the purposes of evaluating the current system. Members of our consulting team visited Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland (teleconference) and Melbourne to consult with all identified stakeholders. As part of the process of formulating our recommendations for system enhancement, we also visited Canberra to consult with disease surveillance experts in the Office of Health Protection within DoHA. The stakeholder consultation process was completed on 5th March 2010.

  4. Evaluation of current surveillance system: We brought together the information generated by the literature and documentation review, and the stakeholder consultations to make our assessment against each criterion in the CDC Evaluation Guidelines. By drawing on this assessment, we formulated ideas for enhancing the ongoing trachoma surveillance activities to meet the needs of the new measure, which were presented in a discussion paper that was used as the basis of a workshop with key stakeholders. Many of the participants were involved in the consultative process, so the workshop provided feedback, as well as gathered views on our preliminary findings. We worked with the Project Manager to develop a list of around 20 stakeholders to invite to the workshop. On Monday 29th March 2010 we facilitated the four hour workshop in Sydney to test our draft findings and ideas for enhancements in the trachoma surveillance system and associated reporting with stakeholders.

  5. Final report. We used the input obtained from the national refinement workshop in our final evaluation findings for enhancing the trachoma surveillance system. We prepared an implementation plan for the recommended enhancements to the national trachoma surveillance system. We also considered the risks in rolling out the recommended enhancements to the national trachoma surveillancesystem and develop a risk management strategy. We then prepared the draft final report that consolidates the evaluation findings, recommended enhancements, implementation plan, and risk management strategy. We first submitted the final draft data report to the Project Manager for review and comment on the 19th April 2010. We then amended/enhanced the draft Final Report to address the comments received. The Final Report was provided to the Project Manager on 12th May 2010.

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1Center for Disease Control (2001). Updated guidelines for evaluating public health surveillance systems: recommendations from the guidelines working group. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5013a1.htm.