The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation
New article: External quality assessment of national public health laboratories in Africa, 2002–2009
In many African countries, reliable confirmation of suspected infectious diseases is hampered by a lack of standardized diagnostic methods and by a shortage of funds, staff and laboratory supplies for national public health laboratories, despite the critical role played by these laboratories as part of a functional infrastructure for disease surveillance. In July 2002, WHO launched an external quality assessment programme (EQAP) to test the proficiency of microbiological testing for epidemic-prone diseases by laboratories in the African Region. The EQAP was extended to laboratories in three Member States in the Region of the Eastern Mediterranean during 2005. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service of South Africa, provided technical coordination, following an agreement with the co-funders, the WHO Regional Office for Africa and the WHO Office in Lyon, France. This article reviews findings from surveys conducted by WHO and NICD in Africa during 2002-2009.
Toolkit for local implementation of the International Health Regulations: Reporting events from local to national level
A toolkit has been developed to assist countries to meet the core capacities required by the IHR (2005), by means of improving event reporting from frontline healthcare workers to the relevant public health authorities. The toolkit is structured as a guidance document for IHR National Focal Points, which includes a collection of tool templates targeting frontline healthcare workers (clinicians and laboratorians). The tool templates are meant to be adapted by the relevant public health authorities based on country specific needs and distributed at the local level. Included in the toolkit are templates for awareness campaign tools (leaflets, posters and wallet cards for clinicians and laboratorians), education and training materials (event-reporting lecture and discussion workshop) and an implementation plan. The templates emphasize what to report, the reporting process and the resulting follow up. The materials are developed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health as part of the EU REACT project.