[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an effort to contain the frequently devastating epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy in an effort to strengthen surveillance and response. However, 36 sub-Saharan African countries have been described as experiencing a human resource crisis by the WHO. Given this human resource situation, the challenge remains for these countries to achieve, among others, the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This paper describes the process through which the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) was developed, as well as how AFENET has contributed to addressing the public health workforce crisis, and the development of human resource capacity to implement IDSR in Africa. AFENET was established between 2005 and 2006 as a network of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) and Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programs (FELTPs) in Africa. This resulted from an expressed need to develop a network that would advocate for the unique needs of African FETPs and FELTPs, provide service to its membership, and through which programs could develop joint projects to address the public health needs of their countries. A total of eight new programs have been developed in sub-Saharan Africa since 2006. Programs established after 2006 represent over 70% of current FETP and FELTP enrolment in Africa. In addition to growth in membership and programs, AFENET has recorded significant growth in external partnerships. Beginning with USAID, CDC and WHO in 2004-2006, a total of at least 26 partners have been added by 2011. Drawing from lessons learnt, AFENET is now a resource that can be relied upon to expand public health capacity in Africa in an efficient and practical manner. National, regional and global health actors can leverage it to meet health-related targets at all levels. The AFENET story is one that continues to be driven by a clearly recognized need within Africa to develop a network that would serve public health systems development, looking beyond the founders, and using the existing capacity of the founders and partners to help other countries build capacity for IDSR and the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005).
The Pan African medical journal. 01/2011; 10 Supp 1:2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Uganda is currently implementing the International Health Regulations (IHR) within the context of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR). The IHR(2005) require countries to assess the ability of their national structures, capacities, and resources to meet the minimum requirements for surveillance and response. This report describes the results of the assessment undertaken in Uganda.
We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional assessment using the protocol developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The data collection tools were adapted locally and administered to a convenience sample of HR(2005) stakeholders, and frequency analyses were performed.
Ugandan national laws relevant to the IHR(2005) existed, but they did not adequately support the full implementation of the IHR(2005). Correspondingly, there was a designated IHR National Focal Point (NFP), but surveillance activities and operational communications were limited to the health sector. All the districts (13/13) had designated disease surveillance offices, most had IDSR technical guidelines (92%, or 12/13), and all (13/13) had case definitions for infectious and zoonotic diseases surveillance. Surveillance guidelines were available at 57% (35/61) of the health facilities, while case definitions were available at 66% (40/61) of the health facilities. The priority diseases list, surveillance guidelines, case definitions and reporting tools were based on the IDSR strategy and hence lacked information on the IHR(2005). The rapid response teams at national and district levels lacked food safety, chemical and radio-nuclear experts. Similarly, there were no guidelines on the outbreak response to food, chemical and radio-nuclear hazards. Comprehensive preparedness plans incorporating IHR(2005) were lacking at national and district levels. A national laboratory policy existed and the strategic plan was being drafted. However, there were critical gaps hampering the efficient functioning of the national laboratory network. Finally, the points of entry for IHR(2005) implementation had not been designated.
The assessment highlighted critical gaps to guide the IHR(2005) planning process. The IHR(2005) action plan should therefore be developed to foster national and international public health security.
BMC Public Health 01/2010; 10 Suppl 1:S9. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
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.
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.
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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because both public health surveillance and action are crucial, the authors initiated meetings at regional and national levels to assess and reform surveillance and action systems. These meetings emphasized improved epidemic preparedness, epidemic response, and highlighted standardized assessment and reform.
To standardize assessments, the authors designed a conceptual framework for surveillance and action that categorized the framework into eight core and four support activities, measured with indicators.
In application, country-level reformers measure both the presence and performance of the six core activities comprising public health surveillance (detection, registration, reporting, confirmation, analyses, and feedback) and acute (epidemic-type) and planned (management-type) responses composing the two core activities of public health action. Four support activities - communications, supervision, training, and resource provision - enable these eight core processes. National, multiple systems can then be concurrently assessed at each level for effectiveness, technical efficiency, and cost.
This approach permits a cost analysis, highlights areas amenable to integration, and provides focused intervention. The final public health model becomes a district-focused, action-oriented integration of core and support activities with enhanced effectiveness, technical efficiency, and cost savings. This reform approach leads to sustained capacity development by an empowerment strategy defined as facilitated, process-oriented action steps transforming staff and the system.
BMC Public Health 02/2002; 2:2. · 2.08 Impact Factor