The incidence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is on the rise worldwide and Ghana continues to show an increasing trend especially for hypertension and diabetes. The NCDs surveillance system in Ghana was established through the District Health Information Management System in 2008 to detect and monitor morbidity, mortality and risk-factor trend for evidence-based public health decision making. However, it is not known if the NCDs surveillance system is effective in achieving its set objectives. We evaluated the performance and usefulness of the Eastern Regional NCDs surveillance system to identify and utilize opportunities for system improvement. We used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for surveillance system evaluation. We interviewed stakeholders, reviewed records and data collection tools, observed processes and analyzed data on hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell and bronchial asthma from 2006 to 2010 using Epi info version 3.5.1. Between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of morbidity and mortality of the selected NCDs ranged from 6.9 to 9.9% (median = 9.5%) and 9.7 to 23.3 (median = 12.9%), respectively. The NCDs surveillance system has no case definition for bronchial-asthma and sickle–cell-disease. Completeness of data is 60%. The health facilities infrequently analysed data provided no feedback to health workers and rarely advocated for public health interventions. The NCDs surveillance system in the Eastern Region inadequately meets its set objectives. Data completeness, provision of feedback and advocacy for public health intervention needs strengthening. Feedback meeting on current NCDs data has been organized for health system managers and data validation is ongoing.
Key words: Non communicable diseases, evaluation, disease surveillance, system performance, Eastern region, Ghana.
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