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close this bookMeeting the Behavioural Data Collection Needs of National HIV/AIDS and STD Programmes (Implementing AIDS Prevention and Care Project - Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - United States Agency for International Development, 1998, 41 p.)
close this folder4. What is needed to understand and track behaviour?
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 The role of national programmes in behavioural data collection
View the document4.2 Key components of behavioural data collection systems
View the document4.3 Rapid assessments, mapping and qualitative studies
View the document4.4 Behavioural surveys in the general population
View the document4.5 Repeated behavioural surveys in selected population groups

4.1 The role of national programmes in behavioural data collection

Because effective programmes should operate from a realistic assessment of behavioural risk and track impact through changes in behaviour over time, national AIDS programme managers should take responsibility for coordinating the collection of data on sexual and drug-taking behaviours. They should further ensure that the data collected meet the information needs of their countries and programmes. However, the national AIDS programme need NOT be responsible for carrying out all the data collection itself. While this is possible in a few cases, more often national programmes have limited capacity and personnel for behavioural studies and must take advantage of outside help or use existing resources to obtain behavioural data.

There may be ongoing programmes of health, fertility, or reproductive health surveys, for example, that could easily add a sexual behaviour module in future survey rounds. The international Demographic and Health Surveys programme is one example, but many countries carry out similar surveys nationally on a more regular basis. Often academics, NGOs, and private market research firms have carried out or regularly conduct behavioural studies in the course of their own research, prevention, and marketing activities. Where feasible and appropriate, these studies can provide inputs for a national behavioural data collection system or offer ideas for developing a new data collection system or improving an existing one. Similarly, national programmes can often use the behavioural research capacity inherent in the university, NGO, or private sector to conduct the actual data collection by providing resources or arranging support for the work from other sources.

Thus, the responsibility of programme managers in behavioural data collection should be primarily to determine behavioural data collection needs; plan and coordinate national, international, and bilateral agencies' activities and resources to meet those needs; and identify the most capable national institutions for implementing the recommended data collection approaches. This will help create strong interest among the selected national institutions and partners in collecting data of good quality and can lead to sustainable data collection systems for country programmes.