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Public Health Rep. 1986 May-Jun;101(3):320-9.

The management and use of data on maternal and child health and crippled children: a survey.


With the advent of the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, both maternal and child health programs and crippled children's (CC) programs at the State level have assumed greater responsibility for identifying populations in need, planning appropriate services for them, and monitoring progress toward program objectives. To determine the capabilities of eight Southeastern States to produce and apply the data necessary to accomplish those tasks, a survey of data systems available to, and used by, perinatal and CC programs in the Southeast was undertaken. Findings of the survey suggested that the data available to perinatal programs were more useful for planning and evaluation than those available to CC programs, primarily due to the vital statistics data systems in each State. The major data management needs of the region include (a) measuring the health status of populations served by public perinatal programs, (b) measuring services received by population groups considered in need of public perinatal care, (c) estimating the incidence and prevalence of handicapping conditions among children, and (d) measuring the outcomes of CC programs. If these shortcomings are addressed, the programs will be in better positions for effective planning and evaluation. To improve data management and utilization capabilities, the programs may need to engage technical assistance and consultation from sources outside their service-oriented agencies.

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