Assessing lymphatic filariasis data quality in endemic communities in Ghana, using the neglected tropical diseases data quality assessment tool for preventive chemotherapy.
BACKGROUND: The activities of the Global Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis have been in operation since the year 2000, with Mass Drug Administration (MDA) undertaken yearly in disease endemic communities. Information collected during MDA-such as population demographics, age, sex, drugs used and remaining, and therapeutic and geographic coverage-can be used to assess the quality of the data reported. To assist country programmes in evaluating the information reported, the WHO, in collaboration with NTD partners, including ENVISION/RTI, developed an NTD Data Quality Assessment (DQA) tool, for use by programmes. This study was undertaken to evaluate the tool and assess the quality of data reported in some endemic communities in Ghana.
METHODS: A cross sectional study, involving review of data registers and interview of drug distributors, disease control officers, and health information officers using the NTD DQA tool, was carried out in selected communities in three LF endemic Districts in Ghana. Data registers for service delivery points were obtained from District health office for assessment. The assessment verified reported results in comparison with recounted values for five indicators: number of tablets received, number of tablets used, number of tablets remaining, MDA coverage, and population treated. Furthermore, drug distributors, disease control officers, and health information officers (at the first data aggregation level), were interviewed, using the DQA tool, to determine the performance of the functional areas of the data management system.
FINDINGS: The results showed that over 60% of the data reported were inaccurate, and exposed the challenges and limitations of the data management system. The DQA tool is a very useful monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tool that can be used to elucidate and address data quality issues in various NTD control programmes.