Methods for estimating population coverage of mass distribution programmes: a review of practices in relation to trachoma control

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Oct;106(10):588-95. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2012.07.011. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


In the context of trachoma control, population coverage with mass drug administration (MDA) using antibiotics is measured using routine data. Due to the limitations of administrative records as well as the potential for bias from incomplete or incorrect records, a literature review of coverage survey methods applied in neglected tropical disease control programmes and immunisation outreach was conducted to inform the design of coverage surveys for trachoma control. Several methods were identified, including the '30 × 7' survey method for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI 30×7), other cluster random sampling (CRS) methods, lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS), purposive sampling and routine data. When compared against one another, the EPI and other CRS methods produced similar population coverage estimates, whilst LQAS, purposive sampling and use of administrative data did not generate estimates consistent with CRS. In conclusion, CRS methods present a consistent approach for MDA coverage surveys despite different methods of household selection. They merit use until standard guidelines are available. CRS methods should be used to verify population coverage derived from LQAS, purposive sampling methods and administrative reports.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lot Quality Assurance Sampling
  • Male
  • Neglected Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neglected Diseases / epidemiology
  • Neglected Diseases / prevention & control
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Trachoma / drug therapy
  • Trachoma / epidemiology*
  • Trachoma / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents