Community-Level Surveillance and Epidemic Preparedness

Making the world safer from infectious disease outbreaks begins in the community. MSH has developed a comprehensive epidemic readiness model that empowers communities to become effective disease first responders. Focused on a whole-of-society approach, MSH helps communities invest in strengthening systems to effectively fight infectious disease threats and epidemics. MSH helps communities plan, prepare, and build early-warning surveillance systems to secure critical services and ensure business continuity. We build local capacity, helping establish procedures for sourcing and managing critical health supplies, supporting the analysis of costs and financing options, the identification of solutions to potential systemic barriers, and the development of investment cases to support advocacy efforts.

With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 Rwanda became the first country in the developing world to pioneer an electronic disease surveillance and response model (eIDSR) using mobile technology. Building on this work, MSH, through USAID’s Health Systems Strengthening Activity (RHSSA) and in partnership with the Health Information Systems Programme (HISP) were the first in the world to develop a comprehensive eIDSR module for the District Health Information Software (DHIS 2), an open source software platform for reporting, analysis, and dissemination of health data that has been adopted as the national health information platform in over 30 countries. MSH is working to advance the module to the latest vision of electronic surveillance and outbreak management systems, including key features such as real-time information flow, interoperability, and interconnectivity with animal disease information systems under the One Health approach. The model will include a greater focus on the current standards for especially dangerous infections such as Ebola, cholera, or pandemic influenza, and a greater emphasis on community engagement in surveillance and response.