Global review of health care surveys using lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS), 1984-2004

Soc Sci Med. 2006 Sep;63(6):1648-60. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.04.011. Epub 2006 Jun 9.


We conducted a global review on the use of lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) to assess health care services, health behaviors, and disease burden. Publications and reports on LQAS surveys were sought from Medline and five other electronic databases; the World Health Organization; the World Bank; governments, nongovernmental organizations, and individual scientists. We identified a total of 805 LQAS surveys conducted by different management groups during January 1984 through December 2004. There was a striking increase in the annual number of LQAS surveys conducted in 2000-2004 (128/year) compared with 1984-1999 (10/year). Surveys were conducted in 55 countries, and in 12 of these countries there were 10 or more LQAS surveys. Geographically, 317 surveys (39.4%) were conducted in Africa, 197 (28.5%) in the Americas, 115 (14.3%) in the Eastern Mediterranean, 114 (14.2%) in South-East Asia, 48 (6.0%) in Europe, and 14 (1.8%) in the Western Pacific. Health care parameters varied, and some surveys assessed more than one parameter. There were 320 surveys about risk factors for HIV/AIDS/sexually transmitted infections; 266 surveys on immunization coverage, 240 surveys post-disasters, 224 surveys on women's health, 142 surveys on growth and nutrition, 136 surveys on diarrheal disease control, and 88 surveys on quality management. LQAS surveys to assess disease burden included 23 neonatal tetanus mortality surveys and 12 surveys on other diseases. LQAS is a practical field method which increasingly is being applied in assessment of preventive and curative health services, and may offer new research opportunities to social scientists. When LQAS data are collected recurrently at multiple time points, they can be used to measure the spatial variation in behavior change. Such data provide insight into understanding relationships between various investments in social, human, and physical capital, and into the effectiveness of different public health strategies in achieving particular behavioral outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Disasters
  • Female
  • Growth
  • Health Care Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Tetanus / mortality
  • Total Quality Management
  • Women's Health