The Summary Index of Malaria Surveillance (SIMS): a stable index of malaria within India
Cohen, Alan; Dhingra, Neeraj; Jotkar, Raju M.; Rodriguez, Peter S.; Sharma, Vinod P.; Jha, Prabhat
SubjectSummary Index of Malaria Surveillance
Abstract: Background: Malaria in India has been difficult to measure. Mortality and morbidity are not comprehensively reported, impeding efforts to track changes in disease burden. However, a set of blood measures has been collected regularly by the National Malaria Control Program in most districts since 1958. Methods: Here, we use principal components analysis to combine these measures into a single index, the Summary Index of Malaria Surveillance (SIMS), and then test its temporal and geographic stability using subsets of the data. Results: The SIMS correlates positively with all its individual components and with external measures of mortality and morbidity. It is highly consistent and stable over time (1995-2005) and regions of India. It includes measures of both vivax and falciparum malaria, with vivax dominant at lower transmission levels and falciparum dominant at higher transmission levels, perhaps due to ecological specialization of the species. Conclusions: This measure should provide a useful tool for researchers looking to summarize geographic or temporal trends in malaria in India, and can be readily applied by administrators with no mathematical or scientific background. We include a spreadsheet that allows simple calculation of the index for researchers and local administrators. Similar principles are likely applicable worldwide, though further validation is needed before using the SIMS outside India.
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