Biological and clinical data collection in population surveys in less developed countries
Summary of a meeting held by MEASURE Evaluation 24-25 January 2000
Workshop Summary Series, National Academy of Sciences, January 24-25, 2000 Washington, D.C.
This document summarizes discussions held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., in January 2000. The meeting was organized by MEASURE Evaluation on behalf of a coordinating committee that included representatives of MEASURE DHS+, MEASURE CDC/Division of Reproductive Health, USAID, Johns Hopkins University and MEASURE Evaluation. It was sponsored by the USAID Office of Health and Nutrition.
Many diagnostic tests, which until recently required complex equipment, excellent infrastructure and highly trained personnel, can now be carried out in an urban slum or a desert settlement by field staff with a minimum of training. Costs of existing tests are falling, and “field-friendly” tests for many more conditions are expected to become available in the next few years. The availability of these new technologies begs a question: how might they best be used to improve the health of people in countries where the conditions they identify are most prevalent?
The meeting was called in part to review what might be possible in the field of biological testing of specimens collected in general populations. Recognizing, however, that data collection may not be a valuable end in its own right, the more important task was to open a discussion on what might be useful, and what might be desirable.