TBData4Action is an approach that uses the TB data that national tuberculosis programmes collect to improve tuberculosis care and prevention.

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TBData4Action is an inexpensive and practical approach that starts ‘bottom-up’ at a health facility level. Health staff, including facility and district level teams, are trained and supported through data-driven supervision, not only to collect and submit their own routinely recorded and reported data, but to analyse and use it meaningfully for strengthening of tuberculosis (TB) care and prevention.

A large amount of data is generally recorded and reported in national tuberculosis programmes (NTPs) and then simply submitted to the next level. This data is rarely used fully by staff at facility and sub-national levels, including TB coordinators. The quality of this data is weak. TBData4Action is built around local and active use of routinely available TB data for decision making and management.

How does TBData4Action work?

TBData4Action uses data that is routinely available from NTPs, and analyses it using a set of indicators. If an indicator is different from the expected, and it is suggestive of a ‘problem’, the background and reasons are discussed, and action is taken if necessary.

The same process is then repeated for the subsequent quarter: has the issue been resolved or does it seem to persist and if so, what needs to be done.

Rolling out the TBData4Action approach

TBData4Action should be integrated into TB management in every facility that provides TB care and prevention services, all sub-national levels of health services and national / central level. It should be embedded into routine support supervision and periodic review meetings.

NTP reports are conventionally prepared and submitted quarterly, and certain indicators, such as presumptive TB and TB notification rates are calculated annually. However, frequency of data assessment can be adjusted when necessary, for example, to monitor and mitigate adverse effects of a calamity, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

TB registers are maintained by clinical staff and TB coordinators are responsible for overseeing recording and reporting in NTPs. These team members should work together to implement TBData4Action to ensure sustainability of local TB data use for improving quality of services.

For more information, contact Riitta Dlodlo, rdlodlo@theunion.org or Union Courses, unioncourses@theunion.org.

Listen to Prof E Jane Carter talk about the TBData4Action approach.