In 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) called on its 194 Member States to strengthen medical surveillance of infectious diseases in light of concerns about epidemic outbreaks.
Stronger surveillance makes it easier to rapidly detect and identify potential epidemics, to keep them from spreading and to take the appropriate public health decisions (prevention and immunization campaigns, etc.).
The Ministry of Health of Senegal has drawn up a list of 11 diseases to monitor in order to improve the implementation of public health programs and healthcare to patients.
With the I-Lab project, we support Senegal’s National Laboratories Directorate as they connect to an automated system for the collection and reporting of epidemiological data from laboratories.
The system makes use of the free, open source DHIS2 platform, which has been approved for health data management by the Ministry of Health of Senegal and the West African Health Organization.
As of July 2015, the 120 member laboratories in the national network had received equipment and training about the system. Laboratory technicians use a web application and smartphones to collect and report epidemiological data on a web platform. The platform can then quickly process the data and produce full reports.
Because the system is designed to strengthen the surveillance of epidemic-prone diseases in real time, it improves the country’s capacity to respond rapidly in the event of an outbreak.
For this project, a team from the Senegal National Laboratories Directorate is in charge of technical validation, training laboratory staff and providing maintenance of the platform. Once the tool is up and running and the laboratory personnel have been trained, the system will be managed by the Laboratories Directorate.
laboratories trained to use the reporting system
By the end of 2016, more than 60 laboratories were trained to use the reporting system. By the end of 2017, they are 118.
70% of these laboratories automatically send out weekly reports, compared to just 5% before the beginning of the project. The remaining laboratories are supervised and helped by the Senegal Laboratories Directorate and/or the NGO PATH.
- Senegal’s National Laboratories Directorate