Using Mobile Phone Data Collection Tool, Surveda, for Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance in Five Low- and Middle-income Countries
Objectives: The Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Mobile Phone Survey, a component of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative, determines the prevalence of NCDs and their associated risk factors and demonstrates the use of mobile phone administered surveys to supplement periodic national household surveys. The NCD Mobile Phone Survey uses Surveda to administer the survey; Surveda is an open source, multi-modal software specifically developed for the project. The objective of the paper is to describe Surveda, review data collection methods used in participating countries and discuss how Surveda and similar approaches can improve public health surveillance.
Methods: Surveda features full-service survey design and implementation through a web application and collects data via Short Messaging Service (SMS), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or mobile web. Surveda’s survey design process employs five steps: creating a project, creating questionnaires, designing and starting a survey, monitoring survey progress, and exporting survey results.
Results: The NCD Mobile Phone Survey has been successfully conducted in five countries, Zambia (2017), Philippines (2018), Morocco (2019), Malawi (2019), and Sri Lanka (2019), with a total of 23,682 interviews completed.
Discussion: This approach to data collection demonstrates that mobile phone surveys can supplement face-to-face data collection methods. Furthermore, Surveda offers major advantages including automated mode-switch, question randomization and comparison features.
Conclusion: Accurate and timely survey data informs a country’s abilities to make targeted policy decisions while prioritizing limited resources. The high acceptance of Surveda demonstrates that the use of mobile phones for surveillance can deliver accurate and timely data collection.