Review of Current Arrangements for the Collection, Recording, Transfer and Reporting of National Trachoma Data

3.5 The Data elements collected for Trachoma Surveillance

Page last updated: 08 April 2011

The NTSRU has developed data collection forms based on the CDNA guidelines. The four forms that have been developed for data collection purposes include:

  • Form 1: Community/school summary form for screening of children for active trachoma (see Appendix A);
  • Form 2: Community/school form for treatment of household and community contacts with azithromycin (see Appendix B);
  • Form 3: Community/school summary form for trachoma control activities implemented (see Appendix C);
  • Form 4 (optional): Community/school summary form for trichiasis in Aboriginal adults (see Appendix D).
The forms were developed to improve the quality and consistency of data collection on trachoma and trichiasis in each state or territory and are used to gather information regarding:
  • trachoma screening of Aboriginal children aged 1 to 14;
  • treatment with azithromycin for household and community contacts;
  • trichiasis and trichiasis surgery in Aboriginal adults; and
  • implementation of SAFE trachoma control activities in the communities.
Table 3.5 describes the key data items developed by the CDNA and highlights what data sources are used to collect this information and whether there are any associated data issues. There are also some optional components for data collection (not shown in Table 3.5) with regard to collecting data on trichiasis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. top of page
Table 3.5: Guidelines for the minimal national trachoma data collection

Minimal trachoma data collection

Collected

Data source

Known data issues

Core components
State
x
Forms 1-4
Population health unit region
x
Forms 1-4
Location (local government area or region)
x
Forms 1-4
Define screening target group (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in community X or town Y
x
Forms 1-4
Age range of children surveyed
x
Form 1-2
Month and year of survey
x
Form 1-4
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children examined for trachoma and clean face in 1–4, 5–9 and 10–14 years age groups, where clean face is defined as the absence of dirt, dust or crusting on the cheeks and forehead
x
Form 1
Clean face collection is not always reported. Free text creates issues for quantifying the answer.
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with TF in 1–4, 5–9 and 10–14 years age groups
x
Form 1
Creates confusion for some as ‘with TF’ or ‘with TI’ is not mutually exclusive from ‘with TF and/or TI’
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with TF in 1–4, 5–9 and 10–14 years age groups
x
Form 1
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with active trachoma (TF and/or TI) in 1–4, 5–9 and 10–14 years age groups
x
Form 1
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with TS in 1–4, 5–9 and 10–14 years age groups
x
Form 1
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with clean face (defined as the absence of dirt, dust or crusting on the cheeks and forehead) in 1–4, 5–9 and 10–14 years age groups
x
Form 1
Clean face collection is not always reported. Free text creates issues for quantifying the answer.
Survey information
Survey season (wet, dry, or not applicable)
x
Form 1-4
Derived based on the date(s) of screening
Survey location (rural [e.g. discrete community or rural town], urban [e.g. city], or both)
x
Form 1-4
Derived based on population health unit region and name of community/school
Sampling strategy (random, whole community, special group [specify e.g. school based], or other)
x
Form 1
Tick box with two options, school or community
Sexes surveyed (male, female, or both)
Not collected
Trachoma control activities in surveyed area pre- and post-survey (free text field for brief summary of each the ‘S’, ‘A’, ‘F’ and ‘E’ components)
x
Form 3
This survey form is a summary qualitative description of trachoma control activities which have been implemented. Not always sufficient time to collect the data. Difficult to source the data. Some argue ‘E” should be done by environmental officers in the local areas.
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the screening target group aged 1–4 years, 5–9 years and 10–14 years (i.e. number in the community or enrolled at school in each of these age groups)
x
This data comes from enrolment lists from the schools or population data for the communities. It is known enrolment data are not always accurate but agreed by most to be the best available denominator.
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the local government area or region aged 1–4 years, 5–9 years and 10–14 years (from census data)
Not collected
Reporting of the estimated resident population by Indigenous status was explored; however, this information could not be broken down into the 1 to 4, 5 to 9 and 10 to 14 year age categories reported in the tables.
Publication status of above data (journal, book, departmental report, or other [specify])
x
NTSRU Report: 2006-2008
Details of publications (free text field)
NTSRU Report: 2006-2008
Process evaluation data
The number and proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with active trachoma (TF and/or TI) who received antibiotic treatment within two weeks of screening
x
Form 1-2
Prevalence data of active trachoma for communities were reported using the number of children examined in the community as the denominator. In some communities the treatment strategy was not reported, although some treatment was distributed
The proportion of household contacts aged six months or more who received antibiotic treatment within two weeks of the case being identified.
x
Form 1-2
If active trachoma prevalence was > 10%, the number and proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to 14 years in the community who received antibiotic treatment within two weeks of screening.
x
Form 1-2

Source: Department of Health and Ageing (2006). Guidelines for the public health management of trachoma in Australia; Tellis B, Fotis K, Dunn R, Keeffe J and Taylor H (2009). Trachoma surveillance report 2008, NTSRU, Centre for Eye Research Australia

The CDNA guidelines recommend that “trachoma data collection systems should be standardised so that data are comparable between regions and states, and so that Australia can contribute meaningful data to global trachoma reports”. There is high variability in the way the trachoma screening program is conducted in each jurisdiction, however most jurisdictions provide the required data to the NTSRU. There are questions about the quality of some of the data submitted, particularly with the free text fields that are often unpopulated or very brief. The qualitative nature of these data makes it more difficult to analyse.
top pf page