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Planning an integrated disease surveillance and response system: a matrix of skills and activities
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    17697387
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC1988797
  • Description:
    Background

    The threat of a global influenza pandemic and the adoption of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations (2005) highlight the value of well-coordinated, functional disease surveillance systems. The resulting demand for timely information challenges public health leaders to design, develop and implement efficient, flexible and comprehensive systems that integrate staff, resources, and information systems to conduct infectious disease surveillance and response. To understand what resources an integrated disease surveillance and response system would require, we analyzed surveillance requirements for 19 priority infectious diseases targeted for an integrated disease surveillance and response strategy in the WHO African region.

    Methods

    We conducted a systematic task analysis to identify and standardize surveillance objectives, surveillance case definitions, action thresholds, and recommendations for 19 priority infectious diseases. We grouped the findings according to surveillance and response functions and related them to community, health facility, district, national and international levels.

    Results

    The outcome of our analysis is a matrix of generic skills and activities essential for an integrated system. We documented how planners used the matrix to assist in finding gaps in current systems, prioritizing plans of action, clarifying indicators for monitoring progress, and developing instructional goals for applied epidemiology and in-service training programs.

    Conclusion

    The matrix for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) in the African region made clear the linkage between public health surveillance functions and participation across all levels of national health systems. The matrix framework is adaptable to requirements for new programs and strategies. This framework makes explicit the essential tasks and activities that are required for strengthening or expanding existing surveillance systems that will be able to adapt to current and emerging public health threats.

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