Unlocking the power of data: Developing an Operational Guide to assist countries
in collecting monitoring and evaluation indicators for viral hepatitis.
DURATION 18 months
STARTING DATE September 2020
GEOGRAPHIC REACH South East Asia and the Western Pacific regions
PARTNER WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, The Doherty Institute.
AIM The project aimed to catalyse global viral hepatitis elimination efforts by developing an operational manual to guide national approaches to collecting, utilising and analysing strategic information for focused action in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.
Although awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis is rising, the mobilisation of the viral hepatitis response has been slow, with far less investment at the regional and global level compared to other diseases with a similar public health burden.
Few countries have established national action plans that provide solutions for affordable and appropriate care and treatment for people living with viral hepatitis. With limited international funding, many countries will not have the capacity to develop specific viral hepatitis strategic information infrastructure or data collection systems.
The WHO’s Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on Viral Hepatitis 2016-2021 identified information for focused action as a priority area for the viral hepatitis response, highlighting the importance of developing a robust strategic information system to understand viral hepatitis epidemics and focus the response. The GHSS recognises that national and subnational data are often lacking or poorly collected.
Strengthening data systems such as disease surveillance and clinical reporting systems is essential to understand disease burden, monitor programme outcomes and track progress towards viral hepatitis elimination.
In addition, data sources and systems vary within and across different countries, making approaches to collecting and analysing these data for reporting against WHO indicators complicated for many countries.
The guide, developed by the Doherty Institute, is aimed at in-country implementation of WHO’s monitoring and evaluation framework with a focus on ten core indicators to assist Member States in monitoring, evaluating and informing the health sector response to hepatitis B and C.
Country-specific workshops were held in Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia and Lao PDR for feedback on the operational guide. These allowed those involved in the hepatitis response to come together for the first time since the pandemic began and mark the re-engagement with viral hepatitis elimination as a key public health action for the decade ahead.
The grant recipient is committed to assisting WHO in generating and analysing epidemiological and programmatic data to guide public health policy and practice related to viral hepatitis and complications, including liver cancer.
The development of the guide is a critical catalytic action that will substantially reduce reliance on external experts, WHO staff and repeated missions to each country. The aim is to increase the number of countries reporting against the core indicators.
The guide will reduce reliance on external experts and give Member States practical, easy-to-follow information and suggestions. Collecting, utilising and analysing strategic information will catalyse viral hepatitis elimination efforts and enable focused action.
The Doherty Institut, serving on a range of international committees tasked with guiding strategic responses to viral hepatitis, will keep translating the findings of this project into policy and practice globally, sustaining the effectiveness and enduring impact of this work beyond the funded period.