Accurate data collection and reporting is essential to assess the impact of NTD interventions. Frequently, data is collected using paper forms and is entered manually in registers and on report forms. This is time-consuming and increases the risk of data errors in both routine data collection and in large-scale surveys. Electronic data collection is a solution to some of the challenges posed by paper-based information systems and surveys. Smart (mobile) devices, such as mobile phones and tablet computers, are already widely used in surveys for NTD mapping. With the development of the Android (Google Inc.) platform, applications such as Open Data Kit (ODK), EpiCollect and Epi Info, as well as global positioning systems (GPS) will minimize transcription errors in the field.
Click here for an example of how electronic data collection was used in a remote area in Ethiopia.
Accurate data collection and reporting can be done in an integrated manner for multiple NTDs. Often a combination of geospatial, disease prevalence, and usage of health services data is collected from multiple households within multiple communities across many different regions of a country. In practice, data may be collected by the same health staff, but is often reported along NTD-specific lines and stored in NTD-specific databases. This is an area where much efficiency can be gained.
For which NTDs is this relevant?
Electronic data collection and reporting is relevant for all NTDs.
ESPEN Collect is the mobile data collection component of ESPEN Survey Support Services. This ensures NTD programme managers are implementing standardized epidemiological surveys that have been developed by global experts using WHO guideline protocols. ESPEN Collect also provides data management tools that allow NTD programme managers to review survey data while the survey is being conducted and enables collected data to automatically flow into the WHO Epidemiological Reporting Form (EPIRF). ESPEN Collect enables access to reliable data for decision making and supports programme managers with mapping, coverage surveys, and impact assessments
The Global Neglected Tropical Disease (GNTD) Database is an open-access, and constantly updated, database of compiled NTD surveys. It aims to foster epidemiological research and to obtain recent disease risk estimates applying the compiled data. At present, the GNTD database comprises more than 12,000 unique NTD survey locations, including on schistosomiasis (majority), STHs, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, Buruli ulcer and leprosy.
The Integrated NTD Database is a tool that can be used by all types of national NTD programs to assist with and strengthen data entry, analysis, storage, reporting and feedback for national NTD program needs. For example, data storage on demography, surveys, disease distribution, interventions, and process indicators (i.e. training, adverse events, supply chain management). The generic database can be tailored to each country’s context and data management requirements. Multiple partners, including WHO and its regional offices, the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), CNTD, and RTI International, have collaborated to develop this Integrated NTD Database (formerly the National Database Template). The Integrated NTD Database is free to use and is intended to be used by national NTD program managers, M&E specialists, and/or data managers at the central level of NTD-endemic countries.