Publications by authors named "Ibrahima Soce Fall"

43 Publications

Design thinking during a health emergency: building a national data collection and reporting system.

BMC Public Health 2020 Dec 9;20(1):1896. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

World Health Organization Avenue Appia 20, 1202, Genève, Switzerland.

Background: Design thinking allows challenging problems to be redefined in order to identify alternative user-center strategies and solutions. To address the many challenges associated with collecting and reporting data during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, we used a design thinking approach to build the Global Ebola Laboratory Data collection and reporting system.

Main Text: We used the five-stage Design Thinking model proposed by Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This approach offers a flexible model which focuses on empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing. A strong focus of the methodology includes end-users' feedback from the beginning to the end of the process. This is an iterative methodology that continues to adapt according to the needs of the system. The stages do not need to be sequential and can be run in parallel, out of order, and repeated as necessary. Design thinking was used to develop a data collection and reporting system, which contains all laboratory data from the three countries during one of the most complicated multi-country outbreaks to date. The data collection and reporting system was used to orient the response interventions at the district, national, and international levels within the three countries including generating situation reports, monitoring the epidemiological and operational situations, providing forecasts of the epidemic, and supporting Ebola-related research and the Ebola National Survivors programs within each country.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the numerous benefits that arise when using a design thinking methodology during an outbreak to solve acute challenges within the national health information system and the authors recommend it's use during future complex outbreaks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-10006-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7725425PMC
December 2020

Systems thinking for health emergencies: use of process mapping during outbreak response.

BMJ Glob Health 2020 10;5(10)

University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Process mapping is a systems thinking approach used to understand, analyse and optimise processes within complex systems. We aim to demonstrate how this methodology can be applied during disease outbreaks to strengthen response and health systems. Process mapping exercises were conducted during three unique emerging disease outbreak contexts with different: mode of transmission, size, and health system infrastructure. System functioning improved considerably in each country. In Sierra Leone, laboratory testing was accelerated from 6 days to within 24 hours. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, time to suspected case notification reduced from 7 to 3 days. In Nigeria, key data reached the national level in 48 hours instead of 5 days. Our research shows that despite the chaos and complexities associated with emerging pathogen outbreaks, the implementation of a process mapping exercise can address immediate response priorities while simultaneously strengthening components of a health system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003901DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7545503PMC
October 2020

Institutionalized data quality assessments: a critical pathway to improving the accuracy of integrated disease surveillance data in Sierra Leone.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Aug 7;20(1):724. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Background: Public health agencies require valid, timely and complete health information for early detection of outbreaks. Towards the end of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in 2015, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Sierra Leone revitalized the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (IDSR). Data quality assessments were conducted to monitor accuracy of IDSR data.

Methods: Starting 2016, data quality assessments (DQA) were conducted in randomly selected health facilities. Structured electronic checklist was used to interview district health management teams (DHMT) and health facility staff. We used malaria data, to assess data accuracy, as malaria was endemic in Sierra Leone. Verification factors (VF) calculated as the ratio of confirmed malaria cases recorded in health facility registers to the number of malaria cases in the national health information database, were used to assess data accuracy. Allowing a 5% margin of error, VF < 95% were considered over reporting while VF > 105 was underreporting. Differences in the proportion of accurate reports at baseline and subsequent assessments were compared using Z-test for two proportions.

Results: Between 2016 and 2018, four DQA were conducted in 444 health facilities where 1729 IDSR reports were reviewed. Registers and IDSR technical guidelines were available in health facilities and health care workers were conversant with reporting requirements. Overall data accuracy improved from over- reporting of 4.7% (VF 95.3%) in 2016 to under-reporting of 0.2% (VF 100.2%) in 2018. Compared to 2016, proportion of accurate IDSR reports increased by 14.8% (95% CI 7.2, 22.3%) in May 2017 and 19.5% (95% CI 12.5-26.5%) by 2018. Over reporting was more common in private clinics and not- for profit facilities while under-reporting was more common in lower level government health facilities. Leading reasons for data discrepancies included counting errors in 358 (80.6%) health facilities and missing source documents in 47 (10.6%) health facilities.

Conclusion: This is the first attempt to institutionalize routine monitoring of IDSR data quality in Sierra Leone. Regular data quality assessments may have contributed to improved data accuracy over time. Data compilation errors accounted for most discrepancies and should be minimized to improve accuracy of IDSR data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05591-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7412785PMC
August 2020

Genomic Epidemiology of 2015-2016 Zika Virus Outbreak in Cape Verde.

Emerg Infect Dis 2020 06;26(6):1084-1090

During 2015-2016, Cape Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, experienced a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak involving 7,580 suspected Zika cases and 18 microcephaly cases. Analysis of the complete genomes of 3 ZIKV isolates from the outbreak indicated the strain was of the Asian (not African) lineage. The Cape Verde ZIKV sequences formed a distinct monophylogenetic group and possessed 1-2 (T659A, I756V) unique amino acid changes in the envelope protein. Phylogeographic and serologic evidence support earlier introduction of this lineage into Cape Verde, possibly from northeast Brazil, between June 2014 and August 2015, suggesting cryptic circulation of the virus before the initial wave of cases were detected in October 2015. These findings underscore the utility of genomic-scale epidemiology for outbreak investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2606.190928DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7258482PMC
June 2020

Recommendations for the COVID-19 Response at the National Level Based on Lessons Learned from the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020 07 19;103(1):12-17. Epub 2020 May 19.

Ebola Technical Secretariat, Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The tenth outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was declared 8 days after the end of the ninth EVD outbreak, in the Equateur Province on August 1, 2018. With a total of 3,461 confirmed and probable cases, the North Kivu outbreak was the second largest outbreak after that in West Africa in 2014-2016, and the largest observed in the DRC. This outbreak was difficult to control because of multiple challenges, including armed conflict, population displacement, movement of contacts, community mistrust, and high population density. It took more than 21 months to control the outbreak, with critical innovations and systems put into place. We describe systems that were put into place during the EVD response in the DRC that can be leveraged for the response to the current COVID-19 global pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-0256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7356463PMC
July 2020

What are the drivers of recurrent cholera transmission in Nigeria? Evidence from a scoping review.

BMC Public Health 2020 Apr 3;20(1):432. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria.

Background: The 2018 cholera outbreak in Nigeria affected over half of the states in the country, and was characterised by high attack and case fatality rates. The country continues to record cholera cases and related deaths to date. However, there is a dearth of evidence on context-specific drivers and their operational mechanisms in mediating recurrent cholera transmission in Nigeria. This study therefore aimed to fill this important research gap, with a view to informing the design and implementation of appropriate preventive and control measures.

Methods: Four bibliographic literature sources (CINAHL (Plus with full text), Web of Science, Google Scholar and PubMed), and one journal (African Journals Online) were searched to retrieve documents relating to cholera transmission in Nigeria. Titles and abstracts of the identified documents were screened according to a predefined study protocol. Data extraction and bibliometric analysis of all eligible documents were conducted, which was followed by thematic and systematic analyses.

Results: Forty-five documents met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. The majority of the documents were peer-reviewed journal articles (89%) and conducted predominantly in the context of cholera epidemics (64%). The narrative analysis indicates that social, biological, environmental and climatic, health systems, and a combination of two or more factors appear to drive cholera transmission in Nigeria. Regarding operational dynamics, a substantial number of the identified drivers appear to be functionally interdependent of each other.

Conclusion: The drivers of recurring cholera transmission in Nigeria are diverse but functionally interdependent; thus, underlining the importance of adopting a multi-sectoral approach for cholera prevention and control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08521-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118857PMC
April 2020

The cost of insecurity: from flare-up to control of a major Ebola virus disease hotspot during the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2019.

Euro Surveill 2020 01;25(2)

World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing unprecedented levels of insecurity and violence. We evaluate the likely impact in terms of added transmissibility and cases of major security incidents in the Butembo coordination hub. We also show that despite this additional burden, an adapted response strategy involving enlarged ring vaccination around clusters of cases and enhanced community engagement managed to bring this main hotspot under control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.2.1900735DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6976886PMC
January 2020

Public Health Program for Decreasing Risk for Ebola Virus Disease Resurgence from Survivors of the 2013-2016 Outbreak, Guinea.

Emerg Infect Dis 2020 02;26(2):206-211

At the end of the 2013-2016 Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, we implemented an alert system for early detection of Ebola resurgence among survivors. Survivors were asked to report health alerts in their household and provide body fluid specimens for laboratory testing. During April-September 2016, a total of 1,075 (88%) of 1,215 survivors participated in the system; follow up occurred at a median of 16 months after discharge (interquartile range 14-18 months). Of these, 784 acted as focal points and reported 1,136 alerts (including 4 deaths among survivors). A total of 372 (91%) of 408 eligible survivors had >1 semen specimen tested; of 817 semen specimens, 5 samples from 4 survivors were positive up to 512 days after discharge. No lochia (0/7) or breast milk (0/69) specimens tested positive. Our findings underscore the importance of long-term monitoring of survivors' semen samples in an Ebola-affected country.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2602.191235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6986820PMC
February 2020

Spatial and temporal distribution of infectious disease epidemics, disasters and other potential public health emergencies in the World Health Organisation Africa region, 2016-2018.

Global Health 2020 01 15;16(1). Epub 2020 Jan 15.

World Health Organization, Emergency Response Department, Health Emergencies programme, Geneva, Switzerland.

Background: Emerging and re-emerging diseases with pandemic potential continue to challenge fragile health systems in Africa, creating enormous human and economic toll. To provide evidence for the investment case for public health emergency preparedness, we analysed the spatial and temporal distribution of epidemics, disasters and other potential public health emergencies in the WHO African region between 2016 and 2018.

Methods: We abstracted data from several sources, including: the WHO African Region's weekly bulletins on epidemics and emergencies, the WHO-Disease Outbreak News (DON) and the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). Other sources were: the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) and the Global Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON). We included information on the time and location of the event, the number of cases and deaths and counter-checked the different data sources.

Data Analysis: We used bubble plots for temporal analysis and generated graphs and maps showing the frequency and distribution of each event. Based on the frequency of events, we categorised countries into three: Tier 1, 10 or more events, Tier 2, 5-9 events, and Tier 3, less than 5 or no event. Finally, we compared the event frequencies to a summary International Health Regulations (IHR) index generated from the IHR technical area scores of the 2018 annual reports.

Results: Over 260 events were identified between 2016 and 2018. Forty-one countries (87%) had at least one epidemic between 2016 and 2018, and 21 of them (45%) had at least one epidemic annually. Twenty-two countries (47%) had disasters/humanitarian crises. Seven countries (the epicentres) experienced over 10 events and all of them had limited or developing IHR capacities. The top five causes of epidemics were: Cholera, Measles, Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases, Malaria and Meningitis.

Conclusions: The frequent and widespread occurrence of epidemics and disasters in Africa is a clarion call for investing in preparedness. While strengthening preparedness should be guided by global frameworks, it is the responsibility of each government to finance country specific needs. We call upon all African countries to establish governance and predictable financing mechanisms for IHR implementation and to build resilient health systems everywhere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0540-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6964091PMC
January 2020

Joint external evaluation of the International Health Regulation (2005) capacities: current status and lessons learnt in the WHO African region.

BMJ Glob Health 2019 1;4(6):e001312. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

WHO Health Emergency Programme, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

The International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) are an essential vehicle for addressing global health security. Here, we report the IHR capacities in the WHO African from independent joint external evaluation (JEE). The JEE is a voluntary component of the IHR monitoring and evaluation framework. It evaluates IHR capacities in 19 technical areas in four broad themes: 'Prevent' (7 technical areas, 15 indicators); 'Detect' (4 technical areas, 13 indicators); 'Respond' (5 technical areas, 14 indicators), points of entry (PoE) and other IHR hazards (chemical and radiation) (3 technical areas, 6 indicators). The IHR capacity scores are graded from level 1 (no capacity) to level 5 (sustainable capacity). From February 2016 to March 2019, 40 of 47 WHO African region countries (81% coverage) evaluated their IHR capacities using the JEE tool. No country had the required IHR capacities. Under the theme 'Prevent', no country scored level 5 for 12 of 15 indicators. Over 80% of them scored level 1 or 2 for most indicators. For 'Detect', none scored level 5 for 12 of 13 indicators. However, many scored level 3 or 4 for several indicators. For 'Respond', none scored level 5 for 13 of 14 indicators, and less than 10% had a national multihazard public health emergency preparedness and response plan. For PoE and other IHR hazards, most countries scored level 1 or 2 and none scored level 5. Countries in the WHO African region are commended for embracing the JEE to assess their IHR capacities. However, major gaps have been identified. Urgent collective action is needed now to protect the WHO African region from health security threats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2018-001312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861072PMC
November 2019

Descriptive epidemiology of cholera outbreak in Nigeria, January-November, 2018: implications for the global roadmap strategy.

BMC Public Health 2019 Sep 13;19(1):1264. Epub 2019 Sep 13.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria.

Background: The cholera outbreak in 2018 in Nigeria reaffirms its public health threat to the country. Evidence on the current epidemiology of cholera required for the design and implementation of appropriate interventions towards attaining the global roadmap strategic goals for cholera elimination however seems lacking. Thus, this study aimed at addressing this gap by describing the epidemiology of the 2018 cholera outbreak in Nigeria.

Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of surveillance data collected between January 1st and November 19th, 2018. A cholera case was defined as an individual aged 2 years or older presenting with acute watery diarrhoea and severe dehydration or dying from acute watery diarrhoea. Descriptive analyses were performed and presented with respect to person, time and place using appropriate statistics.

Results: There were 43,996 cholera cases and 836 cholera deaths across 20 states in Nigeria during the outbreak period, with an attack rate (AR) of 127.43/100,000 population and a case fatality rate (CFR) of 1.90%. Individuals aged 15 years or older (47.76%) were the most affected age group, but the proportion of affected males and females was about the same (49.00 and 51.00% respectively). The outbreak was characterised by four distinct epidemic waves, with higher number of deaths recorded in the third and fourth waves. States from the north-west and north-east regions of the country recorded the highest ARs while those from the north-central recorded the highest CFRs.

Conclusion: The severity and wide-geographical distribution of cholera cases and deaths during the 2018 outbreak are indicative of an elevated burden, which was more notable in the northern region of the country. Overall, the findings reaffirm the strategic role of a multi-sectoral approach in the design and implementation of public health interventions aimed at preventing and controlling cholera in Nigeria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7559-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6743111PMC
September 2019

Subsequent mortality in survivors of Ebola virus disease in Guinea: a nationwide retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Infect Dis 2019 11 4;19(11):1202-1208. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, Conakry, Guinea. Electronic address:

Background: A record number of people survived Ebola virus infection in the 2013-16 outbreak in west Africa, and the number of survivors has increased after subsequent outbreaks. A range of post-Ebola sequelae have been reported in survivors, but little is known about subsequent mortality. We aimed to investigate subsequent mortality among people discharged from Ebola treatment units.

Methods: From Dec 8, 2015, Surveillance Active en ceinture, the Guinean national survivors' monitoring programme, attempted to contact and follow-up all survivors of Ebola virus disease who were discharged from Ebola treatment units. Survivors were followed up until Sept 30, 2016, and deaths up to this timepoint were recorded. Verbal autopsies were done to gain information about survivors of Ebola virus disease who subsequently died from their closest family members. We calculated the age-standardised mortality ratio compared with the general Guinean population, and assessed risk factors for mortality using survival analysis and a Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Findings: Of the 1270 survivors of Ebola virus disease who were discharged from Ebola treatment units in Guinea, information was retrieved for 1130 (89%). Compared with the general Guinean population, survivors of Ebola virus disease had a more than five-times increased risk of mortality up to Dec 31, 2015 (age-standardised mortality ratio 5·2 [95% CI 4·0-6·8]), a mean of 1 year of follow-up after discharge. Thereafter (ie, from Jan 1-Sept 30, 2016), mortality did not differ between survivors of Ebola virus disease and the general population. (0·6 [95% CI 0·2-1·4]). Overall, 59 deaths were reported, and the cause of death was tentatively attributed to renal failure in 37 cases, mostly on the basis of reported anuria. Longer stays (ie, equal to or longer than the median stay) in Ebola treatment units were associated with an increased risk of late death compared with shorter stays (adjusted hazard ratio 2·62 [95% CI 1·43-4·79]).

Interpretation: Mortality was high in people who recovered from Ebola virus disease and were discharged from Ebola treatment units in Guinea. The finding that survivors who were hospitalised for longer during primary infection had an increased risk of death, could help to guide current and future survivors' programmes and in the prioritisation of funds in resource-constrained settings. The role of renal failure in late deaths after recovery from Ebola virus disease should be investigated.

Funding: WHO, International Medical Corps, and the Guinean Red Cross.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30313-5DOI Listing
November 2019

The impact of on IPC compliance during the Ebola virus outbreak in Mbandaka/Democratic Republic of the Congo: a before and after design.

BMJ Open 2019 09 5;9(9):e029717. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Objectives: To assess the impact of refresher training of healthcare workers (HCWs) in infection prevention and control (IPC), ensuring consistent adequate supplies and availability of IPC kits and carrying out weekly monitoring of IPC performance in healthcare facilities (HCFs) DESIGN: This was a before and after comparison study SETTINGS: This study was conducted from June to July 2018 during an Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Participants: 48 HCFs INTERVENTIONS: HCWs capacity building in basic IPC, IPC kit donation and IPC mentoring.

Primary Outcome Measures: IPC score RESULTS: 48 HCFs were evaluated and 878 HCWs were trained, of whom 437 were women and 441 were men. The mean IPC score at baseline was modestly higher in hospitals (8%) compared with medical centres (4%) and health centres (4%), respectively. The mean IPC score at follow-up significantly increased to 50% in hospitals, 39% in medical centres and 36% in health centres (p value<0.001). The aggregate mean IPC score at baseline for all HCFs, combined was 4.41% and at follow-up it was 39.51% with a mean difference of 35.08% (p-value<0.001).

Conclusions: Implementation of HCW capacity building in IPC, IPC kit donation to HCF and mentoring in IPC improved IPC compliance during the ninth EVD outbreak in the DRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029717DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6731777PMC
September 2019

Ebola virus disease outbreak in Liberia: application of lessons learnt to disease surveillance and control.

Pan Afr Med J 2019;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 24.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.19074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691603PMC
September 2019

A Public Health Response to a Mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2017: Lessons Learnt.

Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2020 04 19;14(2):256-264. Epub 2019 Aug 19.

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa Congo Brazzaville, Congo.

On August 14, 2017, a 6-kilometer mudslide occurred in Regent Area, Western Area District of Sierra Leone following a torrential downpour that lasted 3 days. More than 300 houses along River Juba were submerged; 1141 people were reported dead or missing and 5905 displaced. In response to the mudslide, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Sierra Leone moved swiftly to verify the emergency and constitute an incident management team to coordinate the response. Early contact was made with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and health sector partners. A Public Health Emergency Operations Center was set up to coordinate the response. Joint assessments, planning, and response among health sector partners ensured effectiveness and efficiency. Oral cholera vaccination was administered to high-risk populations to prevent a cholera outbreak. Surveillance for 4 waterborne diseases was enhanced through daily reporting from 9 health facilities serving the affected population. Performance standards from the WHO Emergency Response Framework were used to monitor the emergency response. An assessment of the country's performance showed that the country's response was well executed. To improve future response, we recommend enhanced district level preparedness, update of disaster response protocols, and pre-disaster mapping of health sector partners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2019.53DOI Listing
April 2020

Enhancing laboratory capacity during Ebola virus disease (EVD) heightened surveillance in Liberia: lessons learned and recommendations.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 29;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 29.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: Following a declaration by the World Health Organization that Liberia had successfully interrupted Ebola virus transmission on May 9th, 2015; the country entered a period of enhanced surveillance. The number of cases had significantly reduced prior to the declaration, leading to closure of eight out of eleven Ebola testing laboratories. Enhanced surveillance led to an abrupt increase in demand for laboratory services. We report interventions, achievements, lessons learned and recommendations drawn from enhancing laboratory capacity.

Methods: Using archived data, we reported before and after interventions that aimed at increasing laboratory capacity. Laboratory capacity was defined by number of laboratories with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) testing capacity, number of competent staff, number of specimens tested, specimen backlog, daily and surge testing capacity, and turnaround time. Using Stata 14 (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX, USA), medians and trends were reported for all continuous variables.

Results: Between May and December 2015, interventions including recruitment and training of eight staff, establishment of one EVD laboratory facility, implementation of ten Ebola GeneXpert diagnostic platforms, and establishment of working shifts yielded an 8-fold increase in number of specimens tested, a reduction in specimens backlog to zero, and restoration of turn-around time to 24 hours. This enabled a more efficient surveillance system that facilitated timely detection and containment of two EVD clusters observed thereafter.

Conclusion: Effective enhancement of laboratory services during high demand periods requires a combination of context-specific interventions. Building and ensuring sustainability of local capacity is an integral part of effective surveillance and disease outbreak response efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.17366DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675925PMC
September 2019

Rapid response to meningococcal disease cluster in Foya district, Lofa County, Liberia January to February 2018.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 29;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 29.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: Early detection of disease outbreaks is paramount to averting associated morbidity and mortality. In January 2018, nine cases including four deaths associated with meningococcal disease were reported in three communities of Foya district, Lofa County, Liberia. Due to the porous borders between Lofa County and communities in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, the possibility of epidemic spread of meningococcal disease could not be underestimated.

Methods: The county incidence management system (IMS) was activated that coordinated the response activities. Daily meetings were conducted to review response activities progress and challenges. The district rapid response team (DRRT) was the frontline responders. The case based investigation form; case line list and contacts list were used for data collection. A data base was established and analysed daily for action. Tablets Ciprofloxacin were given for chemoprophylaxis.

Results: Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the cases were males and also 67% of the affected age range was 3 to 14 years and attending primary school. The attack rate was 7/1,000 population and case fatality rate was 44.4 % with majority of the deaths occurring within 24-48 hours of symptoms onset. Three of the cases tested positive for Neisseria Meningitidis sero-type W while six cases were Epi-linked. None of the cases had recent meningococcal vaccination and no health-worker infections were registered.

Conclusion: This cluster of cases of meningococcal disease during the meningitis season in a country that is not traditionally part of the meningitis belt emphasized the need for strengthening surveillance, preparedness and response capacity to meningitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.17095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675931PMC
September 2019

The implementation of integrated disease surveillance and response in Liberia after Ebola virus disease outbreak 2015-2017.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 28;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 28.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: Although Liberia adapted the integrated diseases surveillance and response (IDSR) in 2004 as a platform for implementation of International Health Regulation (IHR (2005)), IDSR was not actively implemented until 2015. Some innovations and best practices were observed during the implementation of IDSR in Liberia after Ebola virus disease outbreak. This paper describes the different approaches used for implementation of IDSR in Liberia from 2015 to 2017.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using the findings from IDSR supervisions conducted from September to November 2017 and perused the outbreaks linelists submitted by the counties to the national level from January to December 2017 and key documents available at the national level.

Results: In 2017, the country piloted the use of mobile phones application to store and send data from the health facilities to the national level. In addition, an electronic platform for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance called Auto-Visual AFP Detection and Reporting (AVADAR) was piloted in Montserrado County during the first semester of 2017. The timeliness and completeness of reports submitted from the counties to national level were above the target of 80% stable despite the challenges like insufficient resources, including skilled staff.

Conclusion: IDSR is being actively implemented in Liberia since 2015. Although the country is facing the same challenges as other countries during the early stages of implementation of IDSR, the several innovations were implemented in a short time. The surveillance system reveled to be resilient, despite the challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.16820DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675929PMC
September 2019

Integrated disease surveillance and response implementation in Liberia, findings from a data quality audit, 2017.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 31;33(Suppl 2):10. Epub 2019 May 31.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: in spite of the efforts and resources committed by the division of infectious disease and epidemiology (DIDE) of the national public health institute of Liberia (NPHIL)/Ministry of health to strengthening integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) across the country, quality data management system remains a challenge to the Liberia NPHIL/MoH (Ministry of health), with incomplete and inconsistent data constantly being reported at different levels of the surveillance system. As part of the monitoring and evaluation strategy for IDSR continuous improvement, data quality assessment (DQA) of the IDSR system to identify successes and gaps in the disease surveillance information system (DSIS) with the aim of ensuring data accuracy, reliability and credibility of generated data at all levels of the health system; and to inform an operational plan to address data quality needs for IDSR activities is required.

Methods: multi-stage cluster sampling that included simple random sample (SRS) of five counties, simple random sample of two districts and simple random sample of three health facilities was employed during the study pilot assessment done in Montserrado County with Liberia institute of bio medical research (LIBR) inclusive. A total of thirty (30) facilities was targeted, twenty nine (29) of the facilities were successfully audited: one hospital, two health centers, twenty clinics and respondents included: health facility surveillance focal persons (HFSFP), zonal surveillance officers (ZSOs), district surveillance officers (DSOs) and County surveillance officers (CSOs).

Results: the assessment revealed that data use is limited to risk communication and sensitization, no examples of use of data for prioritization or decision making at the subnational level. The findings indicated the following: 23% (7/29) of health facilities having dedicated phone for reporting, 20% (6/29) reported no cell phone network, 17% (5/29) reported daily access to internet, 56.6% (17/29) reported a consistent supply of electricity, and no facility reported access to functional laptop. It was also established that 40% of health facilities have experienced a stock out of laboratory specimens packaging supplies in the past year. About half of the surveyed health facilities delivered specimens through riders and were assisted by the DSOs. There was a large variety in the reported packaging process, with many staff unable to give clear processes. The findings during the exercise also indicated that 91% of health facility staff were mentored on data quality check and data management including the importance of the timeliness and completeness of reporting through supportive supervision and mentorship; 65% of the health facility assessed received supervision on IDSR core performance indicator; and 58% of the health facility officer in charge gave feedback to the community level.

Conclusion: public health is a data-intensive field which needs high-quality data and authoritative information to support public health assessment, decision-making and to assure the health of communities. Data quality assessment is important for public health. In this review completeness, accuracy, and timeliness were the three most-assessed attributes. Quantitative data quality assessment primarily used descriptive surveys and data audits, while qualitative data quality assessment methods include primarily interviews, questionnaires administration, documentation reviews and field observations. We found that data-use and data-process have not been given adequate attention, although they were equally important factors which determine the quality of data. Other limitations of the previous studies were inconsistency in the definition of the attributes of data quality, failure to address data users' concerns and a lack of triangulation of mixed methods for data quality assessment. The reliability and validity of the data quality assessment were rarely reported. These gaps suggest that in the future, data quality assessment for public health needs to consider equally the three dimensions of data quality, data use and data process. Measuring the perceptions of end users or consumers towards data quality will enrich our understanding of data quality issues. Data use is limited to risk communication and sensitization, no examples of use of data for prioritization or decision making at the sub national level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.17608DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675580PMC
September 2019

Strengthening healthcare workforce capacity during and post Ebola outbreaks in Liberia: an innovative and effective approach to epidemic preparedness and response.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 31;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 31.

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: The 2014-2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Liberia highlighted the importance of robust preparedness measures for a well-coordinated response; the initially delayed response contributed to the steep incidence of cases, infections among health care workers, and a collapse of the health care system. To strengthen local capacity and combat disease transmission, various healthcare worker (HCW) trainings, including the Ebola treatment unit (ETU) training, safe & quality services (SQS) training and rapid response team (RRT), were developed and implemented between 2014 and 2017.

Methods: Data from the ETU, SQS and RRT trainings were analyzed to determine knowledge and confidence gained.

Results: The ETU, SQS and RRT training were completed by a total of 21,248 participants. There were improvements in knowledge and confidence, an associated reduction in HCWs infection and reduced response time to subsequent public health events.

Conclusion: No infections were reported by healthcare workers in Liberia since the completion of these training programs. HCW training programmes initiated during and post disease outbreak can boost public trust in the health system while providing an entry point for establishing an Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR) framework in resource-limited settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.17619DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675930PMC
September 2019

Lessons learned from detecting and responding to recurrent measles outbreak in Liberia post Ebola-Epidemic 2016-2017.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 29;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 29.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: Measles is an acute viral disease that remains endemic in much of sub-Sahara Africa, including Liberia. The 2014 Ebola epidemic disrupted an already fragile health system contributing to low uptake of immunization services, population immunity remained low thus facilitating recurrent outbreaks of measles in Liberia. We describe lessons learnt from detecting and responding to recurrent outbreaks of measles two years post the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Liberia.

Methods: We conducted a descriptive study using the findings from Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response (IDSR) 15 counties, National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) and District Health Information Software (DIHS2) data conducted from October to December, 2017. We perused the outbreaks line lists and other key documents submitted by the counties to the national level from January 2016 to December 2017.

Results: From January 2016 to December 2017, 2,954 suspected cases of measles were reported through IDSR. Four hundred sixty-seven (467) were laboratory confirmed (IgM-positive), 776 epidemiologically linked, 574 clinically confirmed, and 1,137 discarded (IgM-negative). Nine deaths out of 1817 cases were reported, a case fatality rate of 0.5%; 49% were children below the age of 5 years. Twenty-two percent (405/1817) of the confirmed cases were vaccinated while the vaccination status of 55% (994/1817) was unknown.

Conclusion: Revitalization of IDSR contributed to increased detection and reporting of suspected cases of measles thus facilitating early identification and response to outbreaks. Priority needs to be given to increasing the uptake of routine immunization services, introducing a second dose of measles vaccine in the routine immunization program and conducting a high-quality supplementary measles immunization campaign for age group 1 to 10 years to provide protection for a huge cohort of susceptible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.17172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675928PMC
September 2019

Strengthening immunization service delivery post Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Liberia 2015-2017.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 28;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 28.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Liberia from 2014-2015 setback the already fragile health system which was recovering from the effects of civil unrest. This led to significant decline in immunization coverage and key polio free certification indicators. The Liberia investment plan was developed to restore immunization service delivery and overall health system.

Methods: We conducted a desk review to summarize performance of immunization coverage, polio eradication, measles control, new vaccines and technologies. Data sources include program reports, scientific and grey literature, District Health Information System (DHIS2), Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response (IDSR) database, auto visual AFP detection and reporting (AVADAR) and ONA Servers. Data analysis was done using Microsoft excel spreadsheets, ONA software and Arc GIS.

Results: There was a 36% increase in national coverage for Penta 3 in 2017 compared to 2014 from WUENIC data. Penta 3 dropout rate reduced by 2.5 fold from 15.3% in 2016 to 6.4% in 2017; while MCV1 coverage improved by 23% from 64% in 2015 to 87% in 2017. There was a rebound of non-polio AFP rate (NPAFP) rate from 1.2 in 2015 to 4.3 in 2017. Furthermore, there was a 2-fold increase in the number of AFP cases receiving 3 or more doses of OPV from 36% in 2015 to 61% in 2017.

Conclusion: Liberia demonstrated strong rebound of immunization services following the largest and most devastating EVD outbreak in West Africa in 2014 - 2015. Immunization coverage improved and dropout rates reduced. However, there are still opportunities for improvement in the immunization program both at national and sub-national levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.17116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675927PMC
September 2019

Risk communication during disease outbreak response in post-Ebola Liberia: experiences in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 28;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 28.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: Lessons learned from the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak enabled Liberia to develop a health plan for strengthening public health capacity against potential public health threats. risk communication is one of the core pillars that provide life-saving information and knowledge for the public to take preventive and proactive actions against public health threats. These were applied in response to the post-ebola meningococcal septicemia and meningitis outbreaks in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties. This paper documents risk communication experiences in these post-ebola outbreaks in Liberia.

Methods: Risk Communication and health promotion strategies were deployed in developing response plans and promptly disseminating key messages to affected communities to mitigate the risks. Other strategies included engagement of community leaders, partnership with the media and dissemination of messages through the community radios, active monitoring community risk perceptions and compliance, rumor management, mobile stage and interpersonal communication (IPC) during the Meningococcal disease outbreaks in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties.

Results: In Sinoe, about 36,891 households or families in 10 health districts were reached through IPC and dialogue. Circulating rumors such as "Ebola" was the cause of deaths was timely and promptly mitigated. There was increased trust and adherence to health advice including prompt reporting of sick people to the nearest health facility in the two counties.

Conclusion: Risk communication and health promotion encouraged community support and involvement in any response to public threats and events. No doubt, risk communication and health promotion play an important role in preparedness and response to public health emergencies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.16877DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675579PMC
September 2019

Strengthening acute flaccid paralysis surveillance post Ebola virus disease outbreak 2015 - 2017: the Liberia experience.

Pan Afr Med J 2019 27;33(Suppl 2). Epub 2019 May 27.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Introduction: Liberia remains at high risk of poliovirus outbreaks due to importation. The country maintained certification level acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance indicators each year until 2014 due to Ebola outbreak. During this time, there was a significant drop in non-polio AFP rate to (1.2/100,000 population under 15 years) in 2015 from 2.9/100, 000 population in 2013, due to a variety of reasons including suspension on shipment of acute flaccid paralysis stool specimen to the polio regional lab in Abidjan, refocusing of surveillance officers attention solely on Ebola virus disease (EVD) surveillance, inactivation of national polio expert committee (NPEC) and National Certification Committee (NCC). The Ministry of Health (MOH) supported by partners worked to restore AFP surveillance post EVD outbreak and ensure that Liberia maintains its polio free certification.

Methods: We conducted a desk review to summarize key activities conducted to restore acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance based on World Health Organization (WHO) AFP surveillance guidelines for Africa region. We also reviewed AFP surveillance indicators and introduction of new technologies. Data sources were from program reports, scientific and gray literature, AFP database, auto visual AFP detection and reporting (AVADAR) and ONA Servers. Data analysis was done using Microsoft excel and access spread sheets, ONA software and Geographic Information System (Arc GIS).

Results: AFP surveillance indicators improved with a rebound of non-polio AFP rate (NPAFP) rate from 1.2/100, 000 population under 15 years in 2015 to 4.3 in 2017. The stool adequacy rate at the national level also improved from 79% in 2016 to 82% in 2017, meeting the global target. The percentage of counties meeting the two critical AFP surveillance indicators NPAFP rate and stool adequacy improved from 47% in 2016 to 67% in 2017.The Last polio case reported in Liberia was in late 2010.

Conclusion: There was significant improvement in the key AFP surveillance indicators such as NPAFP rate and stool adequacy with a 3.5 fold increase in NPAFP from 2014 to 2017. By 2017, the stool adequacy rate was up to target levels compared to 2016, which was below target level of 80%. The number of counties meeting target for the two critical AFP surveillance indicators also increased by 20% points between 2016 and 2017. Similarly there was approximately two-fold increase in the oral polio vaccines (OPV) coverage for the reported AFP cases between 2015 and 2017. Strategies employed to address gaps in AFP surveillance included enhanced active case search for AFP, re-instatement of laboratory testing, supportive supervision in addition to facilitating enhanced community engagement in surveillance activities. New technologies such as AVADAR Pilot, electronic integrated supportive supervision (ISS) and electronic surveillance (eSurv) tools were introduced to improve real time AFP case reporting. However, there remain residual gaps in AFP surveillance in the country especially at the sub-national level. Similarly, the newly introduced technologies will require continued funding and capacity building for MOH staff to ensure sustainability of the initiatives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.supp.2019.33.2.16848DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675926PMC
September 2019

Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy: current status, challenges and perspectives for the future in Africa.

BMJ Glob Health 2019 3;4(4):e001427. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Health Emergencies programme, Brazzaville, Congo.

In 1998, the WHO African region adopted a strategy called Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR). Here, we present the current status of IDSR implementation; and provide some future perspectives for enhancing the IDSR strategy in Africa. In 2017, we used two data sources to compile information on the status of IDSR implementation: a pretested rapid assessment questionnaire sent out biannually to all countries and quarterly compilation of data for two IDSR key performance indicators (KPI). The first KPI measures country IDSR performance and the second KPI tracks the number of countries that the WHO secretariat supports to scale up IDSR. The KPI data for 2017 were compared with a retrospective baseline for 2014. By December 2017, 44 of 47 African countries (94%) were implementing IDSR. Of the 44 countries implementing IDSR, 40 (85%) had initiated IDSR training at subnational level; 32 (68%) had commenced community-based surveillance; 35 (74%) had event-based surveillance; 33 (70%) had electronic IDSR; and 32 (68%) had a weekly/monthly bulletin for sharing IDSR data. Thirty-two countries (68%) had achieved the timeliness and completeness threshold of at least 80% of the reporting units. However, only 12 countries (26%) had the desired target of at least 90% IDSR implementation coverage at the peripheral level. After 20 years of implementing IDSR, there are major achievements in the indicator-based surveillance systems. However, major gaps were identified in event-based surveillance. All African countries should enhance IDSR everywhere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2019-001427DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6615866PMC
July 2019

A spatial database of health facilities managed by the public health sector in sub Saharan Africa.

Sci Data 2019 07 25;6(1):134. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Population Health Unit, Kenya Medical Research Institute - Wellcome Trust Research Programme, P.O. Box 43640-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

Health facilities form a central component of health systems, providing curative and preventative services and structured to allow referral through a pyramid of increasingly complex service provision. Access to health care is a complex and multidimensional concept, however, in its most narrow sense, it refers to geographic availability. Linking health facilities to populations has been a traditional per capita index of heath care coverage, however, with locations of health facilities and higher resolution population data, Geographic Information Systems allow for a more refined metric of health access, define geographic inequalities in service provision and inform planning. Maximizing the value of spatial heath access requires a complete census of providers and their locations. To-date there has not been a single, geo-referenced and comprehensive public health facility database for sub-Saharan Africa. We have assembled national master health facility lists from a variety of government and non-government sources from 50 countries and islands in sub Saharan Africa and used multiple geocoding methods to provide a comprehensive spatial inventory of 98,745 public health facilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-019-0142-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6658526PMC
July 2019

Investigation of a cross-border case of Lassa fever in West Africa.

BMC Infect Dis 2019 Jul 10;19(1):606. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

Organisation Mondiale de la Santé - Bureau Régional de l'Afrique, BP: 06, Cité du Djoué, Brazzaville, Congo.

Background: Infectious disease prevention and control strategies require a coordinated, transnational approach. To establish core capacities of the International Health Regulations (IHR), the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy. Epidemic-prone Lassa fever, caused by Lassa virus, is an endemic disease in the West African countries of Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria. It's one of the major public health threats in these countries. Here it is reported an epidemiological investigation of a cross-border case of Lassa fever, which demonstrated the importance of strengthened capacities of IHR and IDSR.

Case Presentation: On January 9th, 2018 a 35-year-old Guinean woman with fever, neck pain, body pain, and vomiting went to a hospital in Ganta, Liberia. Over the course of her illness, the case visited various health care facilities in both Liberia and Guinea. A sample collected on January 10th was tested positive for Lassa virus by RT-PCR in a Liberian laboratory. The Guinean Ministry of Health (MoH) was officially informed by WHO Country Office for Guinea and for Liberia.

Conclusion: This case report revealed how an epidemic-prone disease such as Lassa fever can rapidly spread across land borders and how such threat can be quickly controlled with communication and collaboration within the IHR framework.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-4240-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6621975PMC
July 2019

Revitalization of integrated disease surveillance and response in Sierra Leone post Ebola virus disease outbreak.

BMC Public Health 2019 Apr 2;19(1):364. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Background: The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) in Sierra Leone partially rolled out the implementation of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) in 2003. After the Ebola virus disease outbreak in 2014-2015, there was need to strengthen IDSR to ensure prompt detection and response to epidemic-prone diseases. We describe the processes, successes and challenges of revitalizing public health surveillance in a country recovering from a protracted Ebola virus disease outbreak.

Methods: The revitalization process began with adaptation of the revised IDSR guidelines and development of customized guidelines to suit the health care systems in Sierra Leone. Public health experts defined data flow, system operations, case definitions, frequency and channels of reporting and dissemination. Next, phased training of IDSR focal persons in each health facility and the distribution of data collection and reporting tools was done. Monitoring activities included periodic supportive supervision and data quality assessments. Rapid response teams were formed to investigate and respond to disease outbreak alerts in all districts.

Results: Submission of reports through the IDSR system began in mid-2015 and by the 35th epidemiologic week, all district health teams were submitting reports. The key performance indicators measuring the functionality of the IDSR system in 2016 and 2017 were achieved (WHO Africa Region target ≥80%); the annual average proportion of timely weekly health facility reports submitted to the next level was 93% in 2016 and 97% in 2017; the proportion of suspected outbreaks and public health events detected through the IDSR system was 96% (n = 87) in 2016 and 100% (n = 85) in 2017.

Conclusion: With proper planning, phased implementation and adequate investment of resources, it is possible to establish a functional IDSR system in a country recovering from a public health crisis. A functional IDSR system requires well trained workforce, provision of the necessary tools and guidelines, information, communication and technology infrastructure to support data transmission, provision of timely feedback as well as logistical support.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6636-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6444503PMC
April 2019

Healthcare workers' experiences regarding scaling up of training on integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) in Uganda, 2016: cross sectional qualitative study.

BMC Health Serv Res 2019 Feb 13;19(1):117. Epub 2019 Feb 13.

World Health Organization Africa Regional Office, Brazzaville, Congo.

Background: The Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy was adopted as the framework for implementation of International Health Regulation (2005) in the African region of World Health Organisation (WHO AFRO). While earlier studies documented gains in performance of core IDSR functions, Uganda still faces challenges due to infectious diseases. IDSR revitalisation programme aimed to improve prevention, early detection, and prompt response to disease outbreaks. However, little is known about health worker's perception of the revitalised IDSR training.

Methods: We conducted focus group discussions of health workers who were trained between 2015 and 2016. Discussions on benefits, challenges and possible solutions for improvement of IDSR training were recorded, transcribed, translated and coded using grounded theory.

Results: In total, 22/26 FGDs were conducted. Participants cited improved completeness and timeliness of reporting, case detection and data analysis and better response to disease outbreaks as key achievements after the training. Programme challenges included an inadequate number of trained staff, funding, irregular supervision, high turnover of trained health workers, and lack of key logistics. Suggestions to improve IDSR included pre-service and community training, mentorship, regular supervision and improving funding at the district level.

Conclusion: Health workers perceived that scaling up revitalized IDSR training in Uganda improved public health surveillance. However, they acknowledge encountering challenges that hinder their performance after the training. Ministry of Health should have a mentorship plan, integrate IDSR training in pre-service curricula and advocate for funding IDSR activities to address some of the gaps highlighted in this study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-3923-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6374884PMC
February 2019