The CDC Updated Guidelines for Evaluating Public Health Surveillance Systems2 have been used in this assignment as the framework for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the current national trachoma surveillance system. The CDC guidelines are widely accepted by public health practitioners as providing best practice guidance for evaluating public health surveillance systems. They are broad in nature and can be adapted to suit the evaluation of any public health surveillance system, including systems targeted at small and/or Indigenous populations. The guidelines are broken down into six main steps to guide evaluators through the evaluation process, these are3:
- engage the stakeholders in the evaluation;
- describe the surveillance system to be evaluated;
- develop the evaluation design;
- gather credible evidence regarding the performance of the surveillance system to assess system attributes, including usefulness, simplicity, flexibility, data quality, acceptability, sensitivity, predictive value positive, representativeness, timeliness, and stability;
- justify and state conclusions, and make recommendations; and
- ensure use of evaluation findings and share lessons learned.
2Center 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