Three parallel information systems for malaria elimination in Swaziland, 2010-2015: are the numbers the same?
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JournalPublic Health Action
AbstractBackground: To be able to eliminate malaria, accurate, timely reporting and tracking of all confirmed malaria cases is crucial. Swaziland, a country in the process of eliminating malaria, has three parallel health information systems. Design: This was a cross-sectional study using country-wide programme data from 2010 to 2015. Methods: The Malaria Surveillance Database System (MSDS) is a comprehensive malaria database, the Immediate Disease Notification System (IDNS) is meant to provide early warning and trigger case investigations to prevent onward malaria transmission and potential epidemics, and the Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) reports on all morbidity at health facility level. Discrepancies were stratified by health facility level and type. Results: Consistent over-reporting of 9-85% was noticed in the HMIS, principally at the primary health care level (clinic and/or health centre). In the IDNS, the discrepancy went from under-reporting (12%) to over-reporting (32%); this was also seen at the primary care level. At the hospital level, there was under-reporting in both the HMIS and IDNS. Conclusions: There are considerable discrepancies in the numbers of confirmed malaria cases in the HMIS and IDNS in Swaziland. This may misrepresent the malaria burden and delay case investigation, predisposing the population to potential epidemics. There is an urgent need to improve data integrity in order to guide and evaluate efforts toward elimination.