By Mark Griswold, Manager, NASTAD Global Program
Over the past nine years, NASTAD has worked with the Haitian Ministry of Health (MOH) to develop and implement HIV case surveillance in Haiti. This collaboration has resulted in the establishment of one of the few functioning HIV/AIDS case surveillance systems in the developing world.
As the quality and representativeness of Haiti’s case data have improved over time, so, too, have the possibilities for detailed, high quality data analyses. NASTAD held the second of a series of trainings to support and mentor Haiti’s MOH staff to analyze and interpret case surveillance data. The training was held in Port-au-Prince and attended by public health professionals throughout the country. Consistent with the priorities of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), these trainings seek to strengthen local public health capacity and encourage use of scientific data for monitoring, evaluation and decision-making.
Teaching the Art and Science of Data Analysis
Participants were provided with de-identified case surveillance data and taught how to conduct analyses using Microsoft Excel pivot tables, a simple yet powerful function that is included in all recent versions of Excel. Participants were also given a slide set template with sample graphs and narrative to help them create customized epidemiological fact sheets. All participants left with an epidemiological surveillance data slide set that describes the HIV epidemic in their department.
The Future on HIV Data Surveillance in Haiti
Over the next months, the training participants will be supported and mentored to share and present their data and presentations with government and HIV implementing partners in their region.
To support real-time data use and evidence-based planning, key MOH staff will soon be provided with routine access to de-identified case data via a secure online portal and will be mentored to support ongoing analysis and dissemination. In addition, NASTAD will train staff at large HIV treatment and care sites to use their own site-specific data for program planning and evaluation.