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An Evaluation of Public Health Surveys in the Philippines

Michelle B. Besana, Philip Ian P. Padilla


Background and Objectives: In order to constantly provide important and reliable sources of information for various health stakeholders, public health surveys should be neatly-planned, well-conducted, and implemented. The study evaluated the design and implementation of six major public health surveys conducted in the Philippines (2002-2012); identified stakeholders' utilization of the different survey results;and recognized areas of improvement in the design and implementation of these surveys.

Methodology: The study purposively selected and evaluated six major public health surveys based on the contents of their respective final reports. The study also identified areas in the design and implementation of these surveys that can be improved. The researchers also conducted key informant
interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) within the Department of Health (DOH) to validate the usefulness of the results of these surveys in developing health policies.

Results: Each survey had an adequate description of the sampling design, scientific determination of the sample size, appropriately described cluster selection, completely discussed survey questionnaires, and a very comprehensive analysis of survey results. However, not all surveys presented a thorough description of the field operations and discussed survey organization and data management procedures. Common problems as reported by the stakeholders include lack of access to the data results, absence of disaggregated data, and the differences of methodology that hamper comparisons between surveys.

Conclusion: In the development of protocol and standard operating procedures on the design and implementation of each public health survey, there should be a close coordination among the stakeholders to promote harmonization of survey methodology and research outcomes. Effective dissemination plans should also be devised for a more efficient data utilization. There is a need for a central repository of all databases to further promote data sharing and harmonization of public health data. Disaggregation of survey results up to the provincial level is also recommended for local planning, policy formulation, and decision making. Lastly, data on health human resources and migrant health might be additional areas of concern that a public health survey might address.


survey sampling; sampling design; cluster sampling; public health survey; public health data

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