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Evaluating surveillance programmes: ensuring value for money
  1. Katharina D. C. Stärk, Drmedvet, PhD, DipECVPH, MRCVS
  1. Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
  1. e-mail: k.staerk{at}

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EVALUATION is a structured approach to assess whether a policy is achieving what it was intended to achieve. Evaluation is well established in the UK as a technique to inform decisions on public spending. Evaluation is also increasingly used at European Union (EU) level, where all animal health programmes co-financed by the EU are currently being evaluated. While evaluation can be used in relation to any policy or project, it can also be applied to specific activities and programmes, such as surveillance.

Surveillance can be defined as ‘The ongoing collection, validation, analysis and interpretation of health and disease data that are needed to inform key stakeholders in order to permit them to take action by planning and implementing more effective, evidence-based public health policies and strategies relevant to the prevention and control of disease or disease outbreaks. The prompt dissemination of information to those who need to know is as essential as ensuring the quality, validity and comparability of the data’ (Anon 2007). The use of evaluation in relation to surveillance can be motivated by a range of objectives, such as to obtain evidence …

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