Accuracy of the health information system on malaria surveillance in Vietnam
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
, p. 216-225
University of Antwerp
The health information system (HIS) is a key component of control programs and its accuracy is necessary for the assessment of disease risks, the formulation of priorities and the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of different interventions. In order to assess the quality of the HIS in estimating malaria morbidity in Vietnam, we compared data obtained by a 2-year active (ACD) and passive case detection (PCD) study with those routinely collected at the local commune health centres (CHC) at three sites having different malaria epidemiology. The majority of malaria cases (8095%) detected by ACD were missed by the HIS. Similarly, most malaria cases (5090%) detected by PCD were also missed by the HIS, and this was proportional to the number of active private practitioners. Reasons for this low sensitivity are low CHC attendance, high attendance at private health facilities, widespread self-medication and attendance at central health facilities. In conclusion, although malaria has sharply decreased in Vietnam over the past 10 years, the current HIS greatly underestimates the malaria burden. Involvement of the private sector and the establishment of sentinel sites might improve the quality of data and the relevance of HIS in malaria control.