Using and comparing data collected through questionnaires can be a valuable method for gathering information. In our recent research study, we examined COVID-19 data collected via the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Reporting Case Based Form in Malawi and Kenya. We found that while this form was based on the WHO CRF form intended for global use, there were notable challenges associated with its implementation for data collection purposes. These challenges had an impact on the quality and reliability of the data, as well as subsequent analyses conducted based on it.

(Screenshot of QuestMap)

QuestMap Screenshot

A variety of challenges were linked to the design of the form itself. Some questions were not adequately clear to participants or were susceptible to misinterpretation, leading to variations in data accuracy and reliability. Additionally, poor utilization of the form was observed, often originating from a lack of training and familiarity with the specific form fields. Ensuring the validity and reliability of questionnaire data is of utmost importance. Validity ensures that the questionnaire accurately measures what it intends to measure, while reliability focuses on the consistency and stability of the questionnaire's results over time. Poorly designed questions or inconsistent administration can compromise the data's validity and reliability.

To tackle these challenges, we have developed a tool called QuestMap. It enables helpful comparisons across various questionnaires for Disease Surveillance utilized worldwide, with a particular focus on Africa. This tool allows for the identification of shared fields, best practices, and could potentially contribute to improving definitions and guidelines for the use of these forms. We have also incorporated health concepts from medical vocabularies such as SNOMED to facilitate the standardization of questionnaires.

If you are interested, you can preview and test the QuestMap tool through this link. We would also be delighted to discuss this initiative further. Feel free to reach out to us via email at, and we will be more than happy to talk to you.

The development of this tool was made possible by a grant from Wellcome Trust and BMGF.

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