Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Bangladesh,
A Mobile Phone Survey Conducted in Dhaka City Corporation Area


Validation of Mobile Phone Interview through Face to Face Interview

Bangladesh while experiencing an epidemiological transition from communicable diseases to non-communicable disease is actually bearing the burden of both groups. Therefore IEDCR decided to conduct a pilot project ‘Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Bangladesh’ to survey behavioral risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases (NCD), injury and preventable communicable diseases and validate the survey. International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) provided the fund and US CDC (Atlanta) provided the technical assistance. The validation survey was funded by MOH&FW from HPNSDP.

The survey was unique as for the first time in Bangladesh; we used mobile phone to conduct the interview and entered collected data directly into the database. Banglalink provided 20,000 randomly selected phone numbers of its subscribers as corporate social responsibility (CSR). The mobile phone interview was conducted from Feb 12 to May 29, 2012 (108 days) and the Response Rate was 61.4%. Afterwards we conducted a validation survey on a subset of samples (401) that completed mobile phone interview and identified the sensitivity and specificity of some of the indicators.

Using mobile phone for surveillance is convenient, cheap and less time consuming with acceptable sensitivity and specificity in Bangladeshi population. IEDCR is now working for nationwide scaling up of BRFSS with funding from US CDC (Atlanta) & FAO.