Public health experts in Sierra Leone are meeting to review data of the past three months on trend of priority diseases in the country. Drawn from the technical and administrative levels from the national and districts in the country, as well as partners, the experts will monitor and evaluate the surveillance indicators and performance of three key components including disease surveillance, laboratory capacity and the immunization programmes for the period April to June of 2022.
This is the second meeting of the experts this year. Held quarterly, the meeting facilitates information sharing among the national and district health authorities and partners, ensures data harmonization and seeks viable solutions to jointly enhance effective performance of public health surveillance activities and improve progress in vaccine preventable diseases in Sierra Leone.
Some of the additional key outcomes of this meeting will include review of the indicator for COVID-19 disease surveillance and plan for a possible upsurge of the disease. It will also facilitate refresher training for surveillance and laboratory officers to strength surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases.
“Remarkable progress has been made in disease surveillance in Sierra Leone as evident in the quality of the weekly data that is reported from all public health facilities across the country”, says Dr Steven V Shongwe, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone. “And for us at WHO, we consider bringing together the people who generate these data and the national authorities and health development partners that would eventually use the data for decision making, as a matter of utmost priority for achieving health security and universal health coverage”, he added.
Sierra Leone has made significant progress in achieving targets of the WHO regional and global public health surveillance indicators despite the challenges and disruptions of planned activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, through the Directorate of Health Security and Emergency and the National Disease Surveillance Programme, with the support of WHO and other partners, tracks the occurrence of priority diseases, including vaccine preventable diseases in the country, conducts active case search, case investigation, specimen collection and laboratory investigation.
The Ministry also conducts regular programme performance monitoring to get clear information on the performance of the districts to guide decision making at the various levels.
WHO country office is providing technical and financial support to enhance the country’s diseases surveillance capacities by facilitating supportive supervision, district meetings and national review meetings like this one.
Effective public health surveillance is one of the important strategies for disease prevention and control in a country.
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