Emergencies preparedness, response

National and regional surveillance systems

Ebola: Health systems recovery

WHO is working with the Ebola-affected countries to assess, restructure and strengthen their integrated disease surveillance, emergency preparedness and response systems.

Ebola contact tracing team at work in the quarantined village, Bombali district, Sierra Leone.
WHO/S. Gborie

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa exposed many weaknesses in the public health surveillance, preparedness and response systems of the 3 Ebola-affected countries. It illustrated the need for a more harmonized approach to disease surveillance and response, and emphasized the vital importance of regional collaboration among West African countries in the prevention and control of potential cross-border disease outbreaks.

Recognizing this, WHO has been supporting Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries in the region with assessing, restructuring and strengthening their integrated disease surveillance, preparedness and response systems. This includes support towards developing and strengthening regional diseases surveillance and response mechanisms.

Within the context of World Bank Ebola country projects, WHO is implementing a number of activities to establish and to strengthen national and sub-regional preparedness and response systems and structures.

The 2015 consultation of stakeholders documented the existing regional public health surveillance assets. This workshop reconfirmed the need to rapidly establish a West Africa regional disease surveillance network and to conduct further quantitative and qualitative mapping and needs assessments.

Integrated disease surveillance, preparedness and response activities

Aligned with other WHO health security strengthening efforts, we are focusing on country and regional integrated disease surveillance, preparedness and response activities:

  • Providing technical support to the West African Health Organization (WAHO) for the establishment of the West African Regional CDC and its network of National Coordinating Institutions.
  • Supporting 9 West African countries, which will participate in the World Bank “West Africa Regional Diseases Surveillance Systems Enhancement project” (REDISSE), with the preparation of their country profiles.
  • Supporting the 3 countries to develop and implement national surveillance strategies, and the National Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) guidelines and tools.
  • Supporting the Ebola-affected countries with the establishment of National Public Health Institutions (or national CDCs), including study visits to existing National Public Health Institutes in selected countries.
  • Assisting the Ebola-affected countries with the development and maintenance of their Essential Health Services Situation Reports, which monitor the health services recovery progress.