In 2001, the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy for the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) was adopted for public health surveillance in Nigeria. In addition to ensuring rational use of resources, the IDSR provides an efficient streamlining and integration of disease surveillance activities. Given the critical importance of their roles, State Epidemiologists (SEs) and Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) continue to receive IDSR-related training by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This is to improve epidemic intelligence and prompt response to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
These training activities have contributed significantly to an improvement in disease surveillance activities. To harmonise various existing training modules and strengthen knowledge management, NCDC developed the Integrated Training of Surveillance Officers in Nigeria (ITSON).
The ITSON is a one-stop single package with modules adapted from the WHO IDSR strategy, Field Epidemiology Training Programmes and the West Africa Disease Surveillance Project. Relevant additions have been made from existing Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs), Infection prevention and control (IPC), and risk communication packages. Training of trainers (ToT) was previously conducted in 2019 in anticipation of the kick-off of ITSON in 2020. However, this was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, NCDC has resumed activities for the implementation of ITSON. A refresher training was held for trainers from 21st -27th March 2021. The trainers are expected to train and effectively cascade up-to-date knowledge to colleagues at the sub-national level. The objectives of the training were to:
1. Introduce master trainers to the single training package that addresses all the training needs of the LGA surveillance staff
2. Train the master trainers on how to facilitate and manage the regional ToT and regional level training of the surveillance officers
3. Provide the master trainers with knowledge and skills required for a functional disease surveillance system enabling rapid detection of public health threats for prompt action
4. Train potential trainers on capacity building of disease surveillance officers on analysis and interpretation of IDSR data for action
5. Improve participants’ knowledge on outbreak investigation, response and reporting
6. Improve participants’ capacity on supportive supervision, monitoring, evaluation and feedback
Fifty central master trainers from NCDC, partners, and academia were trained based on their capacity as subject matter experts, and the intended objectives were met. The critical next step is for the pool of master trainers to train a regional pool of experts including other personnel such as state laboratory scientists, health educators who will in turn cascade knowledge to the LGA teams in various states.
When fully implemented, it is expected that the ITSON package will contribute significantly to ensure rational use of resources and also bridge knowledge gaps among the states epidemiologists, DSNOs and other frontline public health workforce across Nigeria. We remain grateful to the WHO, African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and US Centres for Disease Control (US CDC) for providing technical support for the training.
Summary of Incidents
1. Information for this disease was retrieved from the Technical Working Group and Situation Reports
2. Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for this disease is reported for confirmed cases only
3. Information for this disease was retrieved from IDSR 002 data
4. CFR for this disease is reported for total cases i.e. suspected + confirmed
5. Information for sentinel influenza was retrieved from the laboratory