How to make an impact with data: data analysis and result reporting workshop in Moscow, Russian Federation

WHO/Tatiana Vorovchenko

13 specialists from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Tajikistan participated in a 5-day workshop on data analysis and result reporting in relation to the WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS), a WHO noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factor survey. The training was held in Moscow, Russian Federation, on 13–17 March 2017.

Participants of the workshop included national coordinators of the STEPS survey, statisticians and other NCD technical experts involved in the implementation of the survey in their countries. All of these countries have completed the first 3 phases of the survey: planning; field work, which involves surveying thousands of interviewees and collecting thousands of data entries from a nationally representative sample of the population; and compiling and cleaning the data sets and creating a final database for analysis.

The workshop was organized to train the country teams on the next steps: understanding the process of complex data analysis, and performing the analysis, interpretation and reporting. The participants acquired skills in:

  • cleaning and weighting data;
  • quantitative analysis of complex survey design data using Epi Info software;
  • reporting survey results in a standardized manner; and
  • interpreting and presenting the survey data.

Using data to raise awareness and make change

The teams prepared a test factsheet, a tool for summarizing and demonstrating key survey results. They also learned to build a data book, an instrument used to compile a complete set of 200 survey result tables that enable the assessment of all factors considered in the survey through visual presentation.

At the end of the workshop, participants were ready to return to their countries and enter the final analysis and reporting stage of the survey. This includes discussing the results with relevant experts from various fields and reporting key findings and conclusions.

The results of STEPS surveys will help to raise the awareness among policy-makers about the prevalence of NCDs and NCD risk factors in their countries, and some aspects of the performance of their health systems to address NCDs. They will also guide policy-makers in designing public health policies and interventions, and assist and inform future health research.

The STEPS approach

The STEPS survey approach is a simple, standardized and integrated method for collecting, analysing and disseminating core NCD information. Standardized questions and protocols of the survey enable all countries to monitor national trends and develop integrated information on NCD risk factors. This information is not normally collected through routine systems. The survey results also enable comparisons across countries that help to identify good practices and inform the development of targeted policies and programmes.

Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan implemented STEPS surveys in 2013–2014. With surveys completed in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Tajikistan, the survey coverage of eastern European and central Asian countries will increase to 75%. WHO aims to conduct the STEPS survey in the remaining countries of eastern Europe and central Asia in 2017–2018; this will result in an understanding of the prevalence of NCD risk factors in the population of nearly half of the WHO European Region.

The WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases organized the training through a voluntary contribution from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.