Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Integrated disease surveillance

Investigating nodding syndrome in South Sudan

Integrated disease surveillance envisages all surveillance activities in a country as a common public service that carry out many functions using similar structures, processes and personnel. The surveillance activities that are well developed in one area may act as driving forces for strengthening other surveillance activities, offering possible synergies and common resources. Surveillance is based on collecting only the information that is required to achieve objectives for disease control. Data requested may differ from disease to disease and some diseases may have specific information needs, requiring specialized systems.Documenting the implementation of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR): WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SARA and participating countries developed a protocol for documenting IDSR in the WHO African and Eastern Mediterranean regions. The protocol was used in 6 countries to describe and review approaches to IDS implementation (November).

Highlights 2002

Romania: WHO headquarters and the WHO Regional Office for Europe (EURO) held an exercise in prioritizing the surveillance of infectious diseases for the seven south-eastern European countries of the Dubrovnik Pledge (November).

Developing an Integrated Disease Surveillance (IDS) strategy for the South-East Asia Region: WHO headquarters, the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO ) and all Member States in the region developed a regional strategy for IDS (August).

Implementing IDSR-lite: IDSR-lite was piloted in 4 districts in Uganda. The package consists of training in and use of surveillance case definitions and action thresholds in health facilities for epidemic-prone diseases; use of strategically located laboratories; regular feedback; supervision; and resources for specimen transport and outbreak investigation.

Field testing of surveillance indicators: With partners, WHO developed a protocol and field tested indicators for strengthening surveillance and response in Uganda and Mozambique, developing a draft list of indicators for use at the national level (May and July).

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Working with DRC, WHO headquarters, the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) and other partners developed a national Plan of Action to implement the strengthening of surveillance systems within the framework of the African Strategy for IDS (March).

Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali: WHO headquarters, the WHO Inter-country Team and AFRO evaluated and scaled-up the implementation of national Plans of Action.

Sudan: WHO carried out a follow-up investigation of an unusual neurological syndrome (nodding syndrome) in children in Mundri County in South Sudan which was first investigated in November 2001. Preliminary neurological and EEG investigations support the hypothesis that nodding syndrome could be a chronic, progressive, degenerative neurological disorder.

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Global Consultation on Strengthening National Capacities for Surveillance, Response and Control of Communicable Diseases: