Large parts of South Sudan are thought to be trachoma endemic but baseline data, required to initiate interventions, are few. District-by-district surveys, currently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), are often not financially or logistically viable. We therefore adapted existing WHO guidelines and combined eight counties (equivalent to districts) of Unity state into one survey area, randomly sampling 40 villages using a population-based survey design. This decision was based on a trachoma risk map and a trachoma rapid assessment, both identifying the state as likely to be highly endemic. The survey confirmed trachoma as being hyperendemic throughout Unity State, meaning that large-scale intervention should be initiated now. Simulation studies were conducted to determine the likely outcome if fewer (n = 20) or more (n = 60) villages had been sampled, confirming that precision decreased or increased, respectively. Importantly, simulation results also showed that all three sample sizes would have led to the same conclusion, namely the need for large-scale intervention. This finding suggests that district-by-district surveys may not be required for areas where trachoma is suspected to be highly prevalent but that are lacking baseline data; instead districts may be combined into a larger survey area.
Country: South SudanKeywords: Surveillance
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