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Free Content Quality assessment of capture–recapture studies in resource‐limited countries

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Objectives  Resource‐limited countries often lack robust routine surveillance systems to accurately assess the burden of human attributes and diseases. In these settings capture‐recapture analysis can be an alternative tool to obtain prevalence and incidence rates. Performance of capture‐recapture analyses in resource‐limited countries has not been systematically reviewed.

Methods  Systematic review of the performance of capture–recapture analyses in the categories of human attributes, non‐infectious and infectious diseases in resource‐limited countries, assessing individual study quality criteria and a minimum quality criterion per category, using PRISMA methodology.

Results  A total of 1671 potentially relevant PubMed citations were screened, resulting in 52 eligible publications: 36% in human attributes, i.e. hidden populations, injuries and mortality; 48% in non‐infectious and 15% in infectious disease categories. Twenty‐one per cent of selected studies were from low income countries, 40% from lower‐middle‐income countries and 38% from upper‐middle‐income countries. Thirteen per cent achieved good individual study quality criteria, 25% were intermediate and 19% were poor. Of the good studies, six were performed on human attributes and one on a non‐infectious disease. The proportions of publications meeting the minimum quality criterion per category were 42%, 20% and 37%, respectively.

Conclusions  Few capture–recapture studies in resource‐limited countries achieved good individual quality criteria and a minority met the minimum quality criterion per category. Capture–recapture techniques in these settings should be carefully considered and implemented rigorously and are not a panacea for strengthening of routine surveillance systems.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Tuberculosis Control Section, Rotterdam Public Health Service, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 2:  Statistics, Modelling and Bioinformatics Department, Health Protection Agency, London, UK 3:  Tuberculosis Section, Health Protection Agency, London, UK

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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