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Collecting syndromic surveillance data by mobile phone in rural India: implementation and feasibility.

Diwan V, Agnihotri D, Hulth A - Glob Health Action (2015)

Bottom Line: Additionally, we found that patients from more than 600 villages visited the nine providers included in our study.The data collected may be used to better understand the health-seeking behaviour of those visiting informal providers, as they do not report through any official channels.We also show that the underreporting to the government can be enormous.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Environment, R.D. Gardi Medical College, Ujjain, India.

ABSTRACT

Background: Infectious disease surveillance has long been a challenge for countries like India, where 75% of the health care services are private and consist of both formal and informal health care providers. Infectious disease surveillance data are regularly collected from governmental and qualified private facilities, but not from the informal sector. This study describes a mobile-based syndromic surveillance system and its application in a resource-limited setting, collecting data on patients' symptoms from formal and informal health care providers.

Design: The study includes three formal and six informal health care providers from two districts of Madhya Pradesh, India. Data collectors were posted in the clinics during the providers' working hours and entered patient information and infectious disease symptoms on the mobile-based syndromic surveillance system.

Results: Information on 20,424 patients was collected in the mobile-based surveillance system. The five most common (overlapping) symptoms were fever (48%), cough (38%), body ache (38%), headache (37%), and runny nose (22%). During the same time period, the government's disease surveillance program reported around 22,000 fever cases in one district as a whole. Our data - from a very small fraction of all health care providers - thus highlight an enormous underreporting in the official surveillance data, which we estimate here to capture less than 1% of the fever cases. Additionally, we found that patients from more than 600 villages visited the nine providers included in our study.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated that a mobile-based system can be used for disease surveillance from formal and informal providers in resource-limited settings. People who have not used smartphones or even computers previously can, in a short timeframe, be trained to fill out surveillance forms and submit them from the device. Technology, including network connections, works sufficiently for disease surveillance applications in rural parts of India. The data collected may be used to better understand the health-seeking behaviour of those visiting informal providers, as they do not report through any official channels. We also show that the underreporting to the government can be enormous.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The residential village (pink dot) of all patients visiting one of the informal health care providers (green dot) during the entire study period.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 0001: The residential village (pink dot) of all patients visiting one of the informal health care providers (green dot) during the entire study period.

Mentions: Figure 1 is a map of all residential villages of the patients visiting one informal health care provider in the entire study period. Table 2 shows that informal providers attract patients from a large number of villages. The pattern looks very similar for the other informal providers, while for the formal providers, including the governmental facility, the villages from which the patients travelled are closer as a whole to the provider.


Collecting syndromic surveillance data by mobile phone in rural India: implementation and feasibility.

Diwan V, Agnihotri D, Hulth A - Glob Health Action (2015)

The residential village (pink dot) of all patients visiting one of the informal health care providers (green dot) during the entire study period.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4385906&req=5

Figure 0001: The residential village (pink dot) of all patients visiting one of the informal health care providers (green dot) during the entire study period.
Mentions: Figure 1 is a map of all residential villages of the patients visiting one informal health care provider in the entire study period. Table 2 shows that informal providers attract patients from a large number of villages. The pattern looks very similar for the other informal providers, while for the formal providers, including the governmental facility, the villages from which the patients travelled are closer as a whole to the provider.

Bottom Line: Additionally, we found that patients from more than 600 villages visited the nine providers included in our study.The data collected may be used to better understand the health-seeking behaviour of those visiting informal providers, as they do not report through any official channels.We also show that the underreporting to the government can be enormous.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Environment, R.D. Gardi Medical College, Ujjain, India.

ABSTRACT

Background: Infectious disease surveillance has long been a challenge for countries like India, where 75% of the health care services are private and consist of both formal and informal health care providers. Infectious disease surveillance data are regularly collected from governmental and qualified private facilities, but not from the informal sector. This study describes a mobile-based syndromic surveillance system and its application in a resource-limited setting, collecting data on patients' symptoms from formal and informal health care providers.

Design: The study includes three formal and six informal health care providers from two districts of Madhya Pradesh, India. Data collectors were posted in the clinics during the providers' working hours and entered patient information and infectious disease symptoms on the mobile-based syndromic surveillance system.

Results: Information on 20,424 patients was collected in the mobile-based surveillance system. The five most common (overlapping) symptoms were fever (48%), cough (38%), body ache (38%), headache (37%), and runny nose (22%). During the same time period, the government's disease surveillance program reported around 22,000 fever cases in one district as a whole. Our data - from a very small fraction of all health care providers - thus highlight an enormous underreporting in the official surveillance data, which we estimate here to capture less than 1% of the fever cases. Additionally, we found that patients from more than 600 villages visited the nine providers included in our study.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated that a mobile-based system can be used for disease surveillance from formal and informal providers in resource-limited settings. People who have not used smartphones or even computers previously can, in a short timeframe, be trained to fill out surveillance forms and submit them from the device. Technology, including network connections, works sufficiently for disease surveillance applications in rural parts of India. The data collected may be used to better understand the health-seeking behaviour of those visiting informal providers, as they do not report through any official channels. We also show that the underreporting to the government can be enormous.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus