How availability of transport and communication has improved disease surveillance
13 October 2011 ¦ Northern Bahr el Ghazal state--David Deng, is a State Surveillance Officer for Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBEG) a position he has held since 2010. As Surveillance Officer his major role is to investigate and confirm rumors of any disease outbreaks before anyone else gets the information. After which he informs other technical people in the state, composed mainly of the epidemiologists and other medical officers. This team then confirms or dispelles the rumors. David says that if the team confirms the alert, the community is quickly informed and response actions start immediately.
For investigations and confirmation of rumors to be carried out, 2 crucial things are required: 1) Transport facilitation to conduct surveillance and collect reports and 2) communication, in case the available transport cannot reach some destinations. Thanks to the World Health Organization who received assistance from USAID to make surveillance better in my state, said David
According to David, the World Health Organization with support from USAID has supported 4 counties in NBEG state with 4 motor bicycles which currently facilitate surveillance activities like collection of data and investigation of rumors. He further says that the Payam Surveillance Officers have also been provided with bicycles to facilitate collection of data and information from the facilities. These is then transmitted to the county surveillance officer who take the reports to State surveillance Officer and finally to the GoSS MoH. This has been possibilie because we have transport available to support our movement and work. He goes ahead to say that this has improved reporting in the 58 functional facilities within the state, this however does not mean that all facilities are reporting. Others will always have problems because their facilities are not reached.
David said that, to try to overcome the problem of other facilities not being reached due to the poor road network, the WHO has assisted facilities in the four counties with communication equipments. These come inform of Codan radios and Turayas (satellite phones). “99% of the facilities have cordan radio. When this fail, then they use Turayas to communicate”, Says David. This enables facilities in areas that cannot be reached to by road, to send in their reports to the counties.
He goes on to add, that due to the availability of transport and communication equipments, completeness of reporting in NBeG state has improved to 80% up from the facilities whose previous reporting was less than 50%. He says that, NBeG state has 70 health facilities of these 58 are functional and are reporting. David is however quick to say that one county which has not received this has assistance has continued providing incomplete and untimely reports. For instance, out of the 12 facilities within.county, only 5 of them are reporting because they are nearer. The other 7 do not report.
At state level, David says, that the support WHO has provided to them inform a vehicle, fuel and lunch is a boost and has enabled them be in close contacts with the communities and facilities. He said that they make visits to the community at least 3 times in a week. This also strengthens the community surveillance system, given that some cases are not reported to the health facilities.
“Thanks to WHO with financial support for USAID for assisting NBeG state strengthen our surveillance system” said David.
For more information:
Pauline Ajello, Communications Officer,
WHO South Sudan
For more information on IDSR in South Sudan
Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar,
Head of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response