Vigitel is a system that monitors risk factors by means of continuous telephone interviews on samples of adults living in households with landline telephones in the Brazilian capital. To evaluate the system from 2006 to 2008, we used the Updated Guidelines for Evaluating Public Health Surveillance Systems from CDC, semi-structured questionnaires for interviews with key-informants and comparisons to other surveys, such as the BRFSS.
Results The Vigitel operation has seven steps: sample selection, eligible households identification, individual selection, interview, check, closure, data management. The number of questions ranged from 78 to 92. Among state coordinators, 96% demonstrated good knowledge of objectives and 86% of outcomes and among interviewers, 54% to 36%, respectively, indicating acceptability. Lack of operation process documentation proved stability. Completeness of variables was greater than 90% and response rate higher than 70%. Prevalence of smoking, high blood pressure and obesity were similar to other surveys, indicating the sensitivity to capture these factors. Changes in workers, in the questionnaire and the software didn't affect the operation. Time between final data collection and data availability was 3 months. Telephone company coverage of 80%, probability sampling and data weighting make it representative. The system allows use of indicators in planning of interventions and policy development.
Conclusions The system demonstrated simplicity, acceptability, stability, and good data quality. It was flexible, opportune, representative and useful in monitoring risk factors in population. Improvement in dissemination of results, allowing local workers to perform data analysis and document system operation is necessary for to improve the system.
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