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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 37-38

Need for population-based survey to strengthen public health care delivery system: A program manager perspective

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication29-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, PO - Sembakkam, Kancheepuram - 603108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2349-4220.147997

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Need for population-based survey to strengthen public health care delivery system: A program manager perspective. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2014;1:37-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Need for population-based survey to strengthen public health care delivery system: A program manager perspective. Int J Adv Med Health Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Dec 2];1:37-8. Available from: https://www.ijamhrjournal.org/text.asp?2014/1/2/37/147997

Accessibility to adequate, appropriate, and complete health-related information is one of the key components which allows program managers to take evidence-based decisions, plan for effective resource allocation, monitor and evaluate newer health strategies, and work towards holistic development of the society. [1],[2] It has been acknowledged that the most crucial indicator for a health-related information system is that it should be population based (viz. reflects the socio-demographic/economic/health attributes of the society). [3] Nevertheless, it remains extremely difficult to obtain the information at the population level. [2]

Globally, based on the quality of the public health infrastructure, prevalent morbidity-mortality pattern, and purpose, different sources of health information like sample registration system, notification, etc. have been employed. [1],[3] However, most of these sources of information lack important aspects of health and disease in the community, and thus population surveys are needed to supplement other sources of health information. [2] Population-based surveys usually aim to evaluate the health status of a population, explore the natural history of disease; and assess the different attributes of health care delivery services. [2],[4]

Currently, based on the evidence obtained from different population-based surveys (viz. screening for cancer, treatment-seeking behavior, prevalence of coronary artery disease or infectious diseases, etc.), different new initiatives or modifications in the existing strategies, such as identification of high-risk groups for a specific disease, finding the age at which screening for cancer should be initiated, making alterations in the frequency of screening tests, adoption of new line of management for a disease, initiation of innovative strategies to control the incidence of infectious disease, etc., have been implemented in heterogeneous settings. [5],[6],[7],[8]

Population surveys can either be cross-sectional or longitudinal, descriptive or analytic or both, and generally obtain data from a sampling unit like a household or a cohort. [9],[10] However, to ensure that results are applicable to the study population, the primary target is to select the study sample representative of the population. [10] The population surveys can be conducted by different methods as follows:

  1. Face-to-face interview: Indicated for measuring subjective phenomena like perceived morbidity, disability, and impairment. Its advantage is that it does not require clinical person, but is time consuming and cannot be carried out on an extensive scale.
  2. Clinical and biochemical examination: It can be employed when morbidity-related attributes have to be obtained. The elicited information is reliable; nevertheless, it is expensive, needs trained staff, and is difficult to apply on a large scale.
  3. Health records survey: It is indicated to study the trends of a specific health condition. It is advantageous as it can be done quickly and does not require much financial support/a technical person. However, as there is no line listing or patient registry mechanism for most of the diseases, this cannot be applied to all health conditions. Furthermore, often the obtained information is incomplete (viz. wrong address) and unreliable owing to the absence of standardized mechanism to obtain data.
  4. Self-administered/mailed questionnaire survey: This method has been employed because of its simplicity to apply, inexpensive nature, and no requirement for a trained person. Nevertheless, this method has a high rate of non-response. [2],[9],[11]

The epidemiologists have recommended use of these methods in combination to augment the completeness and reliability of data. [3] For instance, in order to obtain a comprehensive picture regarding nutritional assessment of a group of individuals, different methods like face-to-face interview (24-h dietary recall or food frequency questionnaire), clinical assessment, biochemical assessment (laboratory tests), and health records assessment (viz. inventory or food balance sheet) are used in combination. [3],[12] Finally, the collected data are converted into needed information by comparing them over time and place. [2],[3]

To conclude, population-based surveys are crucial to elicit health information from the level of community and, thus, deserve a key place in strengthening the public health system.

  References Top

sWorld Health Organization. Health statistics and information systems; 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/en/. [Last accessed on 2014 Jul 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
Andrade FR, Narvai PC. Population surveys as management tools and health care models. Rev Saude Publica 2013;47(Suppl 3):154-60.  Back to cited text no. 2
Park K. Health information and basic medical statistics. In: Park K, editor. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot; 2009:562-4; 742-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Swart E. The prevalence of medical services use. How comparable are the results of large-scale population surveys in Germany? Psychosoc Med 2012;9:10.   Back to cited text no. 4
Schneider IJ, Giehl MW, Boing AF, d′Orsi E. Mammogram screening for breast cancer and associated factors in the South of Brazil: A based-population survey. Cad Saude Publica 2014;30:1987-97.  Back to cited text no. 5
Wang MP, Wang X, Viswanath K, Wan A, Lam TH, Chan SS. Digital inequalities of family life information seeking and family well-being among Chinese adults in Hong Kong: A population survey. J Med Internet Res 2014;16:e227.  Back to cited text no. 6
Zachariah G, Harikrishnan S, Krishnan MN, Mohanan PP, Sanjay G, Venugopal K, et al.; Cardiological Society of India Kerala Chapter Coronary Artery Disease and Its Risk Factors Prevalence (CSI Kerala CRP) Study Investigators. Prevalence of coronary artery disease and coronary risk factors in Kerala, South India: A population survey - design and methods. Indian Heart J 2013;65:243-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wei X, Zhang X, Yin J, Walley J, Beanland R, Zou G, et al. Changes in pulmonary tuberculosis prevalence: Evidence from the 2010 population survey in a populous province of China. BMC Infect Dis 2014;14:21.  Back to cited text no. 8
Thrift AG. Design and methods of population surveys. Neuroepidemiology 2010;34:267-9.   Back to cited text no. 9
Boardman HF, Thomas E, Ogden H, Millson DS, Croft PR. A method to determine if consenters to population surveys are representative of the target study population. J Public Health (Oxf) 2005;27:212-4.  Back to cited text no. 10
Naess O. Individual and group levels in population surveys and health services research. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 2004;124:2783-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of the nutritional assessment in public health and clinical practice. El Medinifico J 2014;2:307-8.  Back to cited text no. 12


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