By Ersin Topcuoglu, MD, MPH, TB DIAH Project
Leaders and managers in all sectors and at all levels have two choices when making strategic, managerial, and operational decisions. They may either rely on their or peers’ personal opinions, experiences, and best or common practices, or they may choose to use an evidence-based approach.
Collecting and analyzing the right data and using it for planning and implementation is the essence of an evidence-based management approach.
For those working on tuberculosis (TB), the TB cascade of care provides a valuable data source for analysis—data which managers at all levels can link to program and project planning in their TB control programs. Cascades quantify, track, and visualize how TB control programs are performing at progressive stages in achieving its objectives among various target populations. Combining cascade analysis with program and project planning will ensure effective and efficient allocation of both domestic and donor funds available.
Such analysis helps us to identify and quantify the gaps within the TB cascade of care. For example, the gap between the number of patients diagnosed with drug-resistant and number of those started on treatment tells managers the extent of the challenge. Further breakdown of this gap into more granular data reveals the disparities between geographic regions, facilities, and between different age groups, as well as disparities between male and female patients. Such an analysis helps managers to better plan and fund targeted interventions to narrow the gap.