Africa: Strengthening public health surveillance systems

May 31, 2021

Several seasoned academic experts describe the move towards strengthening public health surveillance systems in Africa

The traditional surveillance systems in Africa depend mainly on indicator-based surveillance (IBS) (1) component of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa Strengthening the event-based surveillance (EBS) (2) component of IDSR is critical for the timely capture of health events for a prompt response. For instance, we recall the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa (2013-2016) that went unnoticed for months because of weak surveillance systems that largely contributed to late detection and response. To strengthen the surveillance systems, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an EBS Framework as a practical guidance document, and complement to the IDSR strategy, for the initiation, implementation and rolling out of EBS in the African Union (AU) Member States (MS).

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