Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Integrated disease surveillance programme

A new approach

This envisages all surveillance activities in a country as a common public service that carries our 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 control objectives of diseases. Data requested may differ from disease to disease and some diseases may have specific information needs, requiring specialized systems.

Features of this approach:

  • Looks at surveillance as a "common" service;
  • Seeks to maintain surveillance and control functions close to one another;
  • Recognizes that different diseases may have specialized surveillance needs;
  • Uses a functional approach to communicable disease surveillance;
  • Exploits opportunities for synergy in carrying out:
    • core functions: data collection, data reporting, data analysis, response
    • surveillance support functions: training and supervision, laboratory strengthening, communications, resource management;
      • Does not require a single system solution;
      • Is best approached by developing and strengthening surveillance networks

The goal

The goal of integrated disease surveillance is to ensure that each Member State has the capacity to define, detect and respond to communicable public health threats. To this end, an integrated disease surveillance programme aims to provide:

  • timely, complete, regular and high quality information
  • early detection and prediction of epidemics (early warning systems)
  • objective assessment of interventions during epidemics; and
  • efficient monitoring of intervention programmes.

For more information

Framework for implementation

Countries need to assess regularly the targets of their overall surveillance and response systems. The objective is to build capacity within countries, bring together key decision-makers, strengthen communication networks and foster importance of the process in the countries, themselves. Nationals from both the public and private sectors are involved as well as other partners. The result of the assessment is the development of a national action plan

WHO’s integrated disease surveillance strategy has been endorsed by all Member States and is being adapted in the African region. Activities using an integrated approach are under way in the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and South-East Asia.

Working with countries

Assessments have been carried out in:

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Moldova, Morocco, Romania, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

Planned Assessments and Plans of Action for:

Benin, India (state level), Mongolia, Pakistan, Turkey

Plan of action developed in:

Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Morocco, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

Implementation in:

Burkina Faso,Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Mali, Sudan, Uganda

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