Module 3: Introduction to Surveillance Approaches


By the end of this module, participants will be able to:

  • describe population coverage as used in surveillance of congenital anomalies;
  • describe population-based surveillance;
  • describe hospital-based surveillance;
  • compare  and  contrast  population-based surveillance versus hospital-based surveillance;
  • describe the three types of case ascertainment;
  • describe the advantages and disadvantages of active and passive case ascertainment;
  • describe case-finding in congenital anomalies surveillance;
  • identify the differences between a single data source and multiple data sources;
  • describe considerations for inclusion criteria used in the surveillance of congenital anomalies;
  • identify the congenital anomalies to include in the programme;
  • describe considerations for inclusion of particular congenital anomalies;
  • describe how data can be used for decision-making;
  • identify considerations for communicating and disseminating surveillance data;
  • identify different communication methods;
  • identify variables that will reflect the objectives of the programme;
  • describe core variables;
  • describe additional variables;
  • identify sources to collect variables;
  • understand the elements of quality and value in congenital anomalies surveillance;
  • recognize the importance of shared procedures and protocols;
  • identify selected processes and data elements that can be tracked for ongoing quality improvement;
  • understand the meaning of birth prevalence;
  • compute birth prevalence;
  • comment on data that are similar to those presented in the exercises.

Note: This module  is linked to Chapter 3 of WHO/CDC/ICBDSR Birth defects surveillance: a manual for programme managers.

Evaluation Questions 3
  1. Define population-based and hospital-based surveillance programmes.
  2. Why are prevalence estimates drawn from hospital-based surveillance programmes less likely to be accurate?
  3. What are some factors to  consider when deciding whether to  implement a population-based or hospital-based surveillance programme in a country?
  4. Which of the following is NOT a type of case ascertainment method?
  5. Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of passive case ascertainment?
  6. True or false: Using a single data source may improve data quality.
  7. True or false: New,  smaller programmes should consider starting with a small number of easily recognizable,  major external congenital anomalies and then expand to include additional anomalies as the programme gains experience, creates awareness and is assigned more resources.
  8. List some differences between the two methods for describing congenital anomalies in the data-collection process.
  9. True or false: Inclusion of live births alone is a significant limitation that can lead to unreliable rates and trends, particularly for conditions with a high rate of loss prior to 28 weeks.
  10. Define stillbirth according to WHO.
  11. Which is an advantage of paper-based collection methods?
  12. True or false: Incidence is usually used to describe the occurrence of congenital anomalies.
  13. Define prevalence.
  14. True or false: The three top attributes of data quality are timeliness, accuracy and completeness.