• Non-ICIMOD Publication
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Opportunities and Challenges in Public Health Data Collection in Southern Asia: Examples from Western India and Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

  • Nori-Sarma, A.
  • Gurung, A.
  • Azhar, G.
  • Rajiva, A.
  • Mavalankar, D.
  • Sheffield, P.
  • Bell, M.

Small-scale local data resources may serve to provide a highly resolved estimate of health effects, which can be spatially heterogeneous in highly populated urban centers in developing countries. We aim to highlight the challenges and opportunities of health data registries in a developing world context. In western India, government-collected daily mortality registry data were obtained from five cities, along with daily hospital admissions data from three government hospitals in Ahmedabad. In Nepal, individual-level data on hospital admissions were collected from six major hospitals in Kathmandu Valley. Our process illustrates many challenges for researchers, governments, and record keepers inherent to data collection in developing countries: creating and maintaining a centralized record-keeping system; standardizing the data collected; obtaining data from some local agencies; assuring data completeness and availability of back-ups to the datasets; as well as translating, cleaning, and comparing data within and across localities. We suggest that these “small-data” resources may better serve the analysis of health outcomes than exposure-response functions extrapolated from data collected in other areas of the world.

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