Medical and scientific professionals count upon the most up-to-the-moment data to best support and create solutions and treatments. Therefore, a solid and vast factual knowledge of the size of the burden of diseases is essential for planning Community Dermatology.
Warning Without proper investment and focus applied to attaining the best possible information and without dedicated teams supplying this data, we may miss important opportunities in the global community affecting disease spread and growth.
Action It is imperative to organise and collect data on the common versus the rare, on buildings, equipment, human resources and the costs associated with those we’re trying to help.
Collecting data on prevalence of disease, doing house to house surveys and identifying common objectives helps us all to gain experience and practice. However, we are strongest when this information is shared and is equally reachable by us all as a global community of dermatologists.
The mechanisms for collecting data are well illustrated in dissertations on Health Systems Research, 213 of which have been written by students at the Regional Training Centre in Tanzania, who in a typical dissertation, have a description of the location, climate and community where the study is done ranging from outreach in small villages to large urban based communities. Each dissertation has an introduction setting the scene that includes, the population and its urban, peri-urban and rural distribution, economy, social, sexual and cultural practices, the birth rate, infant and maternal mortality, literacy and life expectancy. Health Care Delivery Systems and Health seeking behaviours are recorded to better serve the dermatological community as a whole.
Publications in the International Journal of Dermatology by Marigdalia Ramirez-Fort et al (2012) and Estrada et al (2012) are seminal works amongst others that can help us to draw on these ideas.