Preventive Chemotherapy: Tools for improving the quality of reported data and information
A field manual for implementation
Preventive chemotherapy is one of the main interventions used by national programmes to control and eliminate five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs): lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases and trachoma. The intervention is distributed through mass drug administration (MDA) and school-based treatments, with the goal of treating populations at risk of infection at appropriate, regular intervals. Incorrect tallying or reporting of the numbers of individuals treated can bias routinely reported results, as can poorly documented shifts in population, reliance on outdated census data and treatment of individuals outside the targeted age group or geographical area.
A fundamental step in monitoring the success of programmes is knowing the coverage of preventive chemotherapy; that is, how many people who needed treatment swallowed the medicines. Without reliable information on treatment coverage, programme managers and their staff cannot monitor programmatic performance effectively. Routine monitoring is essential to track progress towards programmatic goals, identify communities in which coverage is low or insufficient and implement corrective actions to improve coverage. Coverage evaluation surveys are straightforward, population-based surveys designed to provide precise estimates of preventive chemotherapy coverage against targeted NTDs and provide a valuable tool for evaluating programmatic performance.
The quality of data on preventive chemotherapy for NTDs received by national programmes is at times incomplete, untimely and of questionable accuracy. As the goals for control and elimination of NTDs, as endorsed by the World Health Assembly and published in the WHO roadmap for implementation, approach, programmes must ensure that high-quality data are available and used effectively for decision-making. Data quality assessments are resources for national programmes to assess the quality of reported data on preventive chemotherapy and the quality of the data management system.
A recurring request from national programmes is the need for a rapid, inexpensive and simple tool to assess coverage of preventive chemotherapy as part of supervision activities. The objective of the Supervisors’ coverage tool is to improve coverage within a given supervision area within the current round of MDA. The advantage of this tool over other monitoring approaches, including independent monitoring and rapid coverage monitoring, is that it provides a classification of the coverage that was likely achieved during the current MDA round. (longest within 12 months) Rotate every year in some districts W
This field manual presents the three tools and their methodologies, with stepwise explanations on planning, implementation, and interpretation and action, to guide improvements in the quality of reported data and information on preventive chemotherapy for NTDs. Additional resources are available to accompany the guides.