ESTABLISHING LABORATORY SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH SURVEILLANCE
This week, we round up our series on laboratory and its role in surveillance and disease control by focusing on establishing laboratory support for public health surveillance.
It is important to note that at every level of laboratory service delivery, certain activities are important in strengthening and driving the activities of the laboratory in public health surveillance. Below is a summary of some important outbreak preparedness and response activities, where laboratory support is essential.
Identification and diagnosis of diseases of public health importance
Mapping of laboratory facilities and human resources including reference laboratories
Establishment of communication linkage between the laboratory and disease surveillance unit at each level, particularly for prompt and regular report of results and feedback
Identification of a focal person to coordinate laboratory activities
Identification of laboratory supplies and logistics needed
Provision of appropriate laboratory guidelines and forms
Development of epidemic preparedness and response plans
Evidently, the laboratory is a very crucial component of an effective public health surveillance system. It is important that focus on this area is established and sustained at every level of the health sector with public health officers at each level taking responsibility for activities as it concerns them.