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TB Hackathon: Development and Comparison of Five Models to Predict Subnational Tuberculosis Prevalence in Pakistan.

Abstract

Pakistan's national tuberculosis control programme (NTP) is among the many programmes worldwide that value the importance of subnational tuberculosis (TB) burden estimates to support disease control efforts, but do not have reliable estimates. A hackathon was thus organised to solicit the development and comparison of several models for small area estimation of TB. The TB hackathon was launched in April 2019. Participating teams were requested to produce district-level estimates of bacteriologically positive TB prevalence among adults (over 15 years of age) for 2018. The NTP provided case-based data from their 2010-2011 TB prevalence survey, along with data relating to TB screening, testing and treatment for the period between 2010-2011 and 2018. Five teams submitted district-level TB prevalence estimates, methodological details and programming code. Although the geographical distribution of TB prevalence varied considerably across models, we identified several districts with consistently low notification-to-prevalence ratios. The hackathon highlighted the challenges of generating granular spatiotemporal TB prevalence forecasts based on a cross-sectional prevalence survey data and other data sources. Nevertheless, it provided a range of approaches to subnational disease modelling. The NTP's use and plans for these outputs shows that, limitations notwithstanding, they can be valuable for programme planning.

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