Ghana’s community-based surveillance is enabling early detection of preventable diseases

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Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Sep 11 2020
Members of the public trained on how to collect health information in Ghana are enabling early detection and reporting of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, a study says.

The system, called community-based surveillance, allows disease outbreaks to be picked up by eagle-eyed members of the public.

“The community members, who may be professionals or otherwise, are engaged and trained to collect health information from their communities and report it for public health surveillance purposes,” the study adds.

“Community-based surveillance detected 26 per cent of all suspected vaccine-preventable disease cases that were reported,” says the study, adding that within 48 hours of detection, 87 per cent of the health issues detected were responded to.


This demonstrates that community-based surveillance is effective in capturing disease cases that may have been otherwise missed by the routine disease surveillance system.”

Sharifa Merali, Study Lead Author and Epidemiologist, Division of Viral Diseases, US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


“It also demonstrates that the diseases detected through the surveillance were responded to rapidly, which reduces the potential for spread and more severe outcomes for those affected.”

Routine surveillance, often limited to healthcare facilities, is inadequate for patients who come to seek …

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