Use of Handheld Computers with Global Positioning Systems for Probability Sampling and Data Entry in Household Surveys

Jodi L. Vanden Eng Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Adam Wolkon Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Anatoly S. Frolov Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Dianne J. Terlouw Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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M. James Eliades Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Kodjo Morgah Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Vincent Takpa Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Aboudou Dare Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Yao K. Sodahlon Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Yao Doumanou Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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William A. Hawley Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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Allen W. Hightower Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Togolese Ministry of Health, Lome, Togo

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We introduce an innovative method that uses personal digital assistants (PDAs) equipped with global positioning system (GPS) units in household surveys to select a probability-based sample and perform PDA-based interviews. Our approach uses PDAs with GPS to rapidly map all households in selected areas, choose a random sample, and navigate back to the sampled households to conduct an interview. We present recent field experience in two large-scale nationally representative household surveys to assess insecticide-treated bed net coverage as part of malaria control efforts in Africa. The successful application of this method resulted in statistically valid samples; quality-controlled data entry; and rapid aggregation, analyses, and availability of preliminary results within days of completing the field work. We propose this method as an alternative to the Expanded Program on Immunization cluster sample method when a fast, statistically valid survey is required in an environment with little census information at the enumeration area level.

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