Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. Efficient monitoring and surveillance are cornerstones to track progress of NCD burden, related risk factors, and policy interventions. The systematic monitoring of risk factors to generate accurate and timely data is essential for a country’s ability to prioritize essential resources and make sound policy decisions to address the growing NCD burden.

With increasing access and use of mobile phones globally, opportunities exist to explore the feasibility of using mobile phone technology as an interim method to collect data and supplement household surveys. Such technologies have the potential to allow for efficiencies in producing timely, affordable, and accurate data to monitor trends, and augment traditional health surveys with new, faster mobile phone surveys.

The Bloomberg Data for Health initiative aims to strengthen the collection and use of critical public health information. One of the components of the initiative aims to explore innovative approaches to NCD surveillance, including the use of mobile phone surveys for NCDs. The main objectives of this component are to assess the feasibility, quality, and validity of nationally representative NCD Mobile Phone Surveys and propose a globally standardized protocol. The specific objectives are to:

  • Implement mobile phone surveys in 10 countries and support face-to-face STEPS surveys in six overlapping countries
  • Compare findings from the two methodologies

The NCD Mobile Phone Survey is a nationally representative stratified survey of adults 18 years of age and older. The survey uses standardized instruments and procedures reviewed and approved by international experts. This includes a core questionnaire with optional questions, sample design utilizing random digit dialing (RDD), data management procedures, and data collection using single or mixed-mode technology such as interactive voice response (IVR), short message service (SMS), and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). The implementation process consists of five stages: 1) engagement and orientation; 2) mobile phone technology and pretesting; 3) data collection; 4) data management; and 5) data release and use. Details on each stage are presented in the NCD Mobile Phone Survey Process Chart (see Figure 1).


This manual is designed to briefly outline the requirements and guidelines for countries to follow as they develop an appropriate sample design for their implementation of the NCD Mobile Phone Survey:

  • Survey Design Objectives. Summarizes the survey objectives.
  • Target Population and Sampling Frame. Presents a definition of the target population for the survey and provides discussion of the sample frame that will be used.
  • Basic Survey Design Specification. Presents the basic features of the sample design that are required to achieve established levels of statistical quality and facilitate between country comparability.
  • Overview of the Sampling Approach. Presents the recommended sampling designs for options 1 and 2.
  • First Phase of Sampling. Presents the recommended approach for selecting mobile phone numbers (MPNs).
  • Second Phase of Sampling. Describes how the sample will be stratified after selection of MPNs.
  • Determining Sample Sizes and Response Rates. Provides guidance on determining the selected sample sizes needed to produce a respondent sample size and computing the final eligibility and response rates for the survey.
  • Computing Final Sample Weights. Outlines the five steps for computing the sampling weights for statistical analysis.