With the aim to improve the local health system in Sudan, the World Health Organization (WHO) in joint efforts with Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health organized a 2-day national training of trainers (ToT) workshop in Khartoum to launch the roll out of community-based surveillance in Sudan (CBS).
The system will target 10 states covering more than 7100 villages from rural, inaccessible and remote areas to assist in the early detection of and timely response to common public health threats and suspected communicable diseases.
The workshop marked the participation of 48 nationals from the surveillance departments in the federal and states ministries of health and focused on building their capacities to establish community-based surveillance systems in their states and localities through selecting appropriate Village level Community Volunteer.
The training also addressed issues relating to the national surveillance system for communicable diseases, in addition to identifying 26 reprioritized diseases and syndromes like Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Tuberculosis (TB), Nutrition, Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS and others.
“This is the first time in Sudan where WHO & FMOH undertook joint and enormous efforts to establish Community Based Surveillance in 10 states with the ultimate goal to strengthen community and locality level surveillance system by local volunteers,” said Dr. Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO Representative in Sudan. “This system will provide an active rather than passive surveillance empowering communities to detect rapid community public health threats and contain them in proper time. In the year 40th Anniversary of Primary Health Care that promotes community participation, such endeavor will benefit role of communities to strengthen health services and systems resilience’ added Dr. Naeema.
Although sentinel sites cover almost all 189 localities in Sudan, less than 30% of health facilities are accommodated by the existing surveillance system. Health workers in a number of states also identified inequality of access and uptake of services with different patterns of health-service seeking behaviors.
“The population with limited to no access to health facilities remains unaware of the implications of health emergencies and threatening potential outbreaks in the community,” said Dr. Ahmed Salih, Public Health professional. “It is our responsibility to protect and raise the awareness of communities on health risks and strengthen national capacities on the early detection and reporting of health risks including rumors on any suspected diseases,” he added.
WHO has so far supported the health authorities in Sudan to detect, prevent, monitor, and respond to health emergencies, in addition, to the elimination of tropical diseases using integrated disease surveillance system.
“WHO played a critical role in controlling outbreaks like Chikungunya in Eastern Sudan,” said Dr. Salah Salim, a workshop participant from eastern Sudan. “Effective communicable disease control relies on effective response systems and effective response systems rely on effective disease surveillance which is what WHO is supporting us to build in Sudan” he added.
Sudan faces continuous outbreaks and epidemic events of major communicable and epidemic-prone diseases. To date, WHO and FMOH have taken two important steps towards Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system (IDSR) in terms of disease reprioritization and re-categorization as per reporting priority. This and other WHO support to health in Sudan are a result of the generous contributions from Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF), Central Emergency Response Funds (CERF), the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Qatar Darfur Development Fund, Government of Japan, and the Government of Italy.