Streamlining Health Data Collection Important, But More Effort Needed To Monitor NCDs

The Lancet: Global health metrics and NCDs: are our perceptions years behind the data?
Editorial Board

“Data collection is an inherent part of health care and is crucial for evaluating disease trends, planning health services, and monitoring progress. Good quality data shines a light on areas of need, success, and failure; in turn, this leads to learning, progress, and—of course—donor funding. Unfortunately, a high burden of disease comes with a high burden of data collection. This double burden is heaviest in countries that struggle both to provide health care and collect data. The requirements from each individual donor for countries to collect data specific to their programme needs only amplifies the problem. … The initiative to reduce the burden of data collection on countries is certainly to be celebrated. However, it will fail without strong leadership to resolve the tension between local and global needs, and without investment in infrastructure to aid collection of data, particularly in low-income settings. Even with this help, the relative lack of health indicators to monitor NCDs is a glaring omission that potentially makes a mockery of the process…” (6/18).