Session 1D: Symposium on “The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development”
Measuring what matters in public health
Abstract: Measurement matters. It makes a problem and its size is visible. It provides evidence to inform decision-making and implementation. Continued, effective measurement is essential to tracking trajectories and impact. Measurement determines where public resources are allocated and what goals will be pursued. Yet we frequently measure what does not matter and set indicators that have no or little relationship to the outcome we want.
In public health, research needs to be carefully designed and done, so that researchers contribute actionable information and tools. Examples from my several failures, many course corrections, and occasional successes will illustrate the importance of identifying lacunae, issues with overlap and interpretation, standardization, timing, and tracking in public health research in India. These issues have become particularly relevant in the past 30 months, but are not new to public health practice in India.