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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1106; doi:10.3390/su9071106

Opportunities and Challenges in Public Health Data Collection in Southern Asia: Examples from Western India and Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

1
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
2
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
3
International Centre for Mountain Development, Kathmandu 44700, Nepal
4
Pardee RAND Graduate School, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
5
Public Health Foundation of India, Indian Institute of Public Health—Gandhinagar, Gandhinagar, Gujarat 382042, India
6
Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and Department of Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: capacity building; data collection; hospital admissions; India; mortality; public health; Nepal; South Asia capacity building; data collection; hospital admissions; India; mortality; public health; Nepal; South Asia
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nori-Sarma, A.; Gurung, A.; Azhar, G.S.; Rajiva, A.; Mavalankar, D.; Sheffield, P.; Bell, M.L. Opportunities and Challenges in Public Health Data Collection in Southern Asia: Examples from Western India and Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1106.

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