EWARS: a simple, robust system to detect disease outbreaks
WHO’s Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS)
Humanitarian emergencies increase the risk of transmission of infectious diseases and other health conditions such as severe malnutrition. An effective disease surveillance system is essential to detecting disease outbreaks quickly before they spread, cost lives and become difficult to control.
WHO’s Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) is designed to improve disease outbreak detection in emergency settings, such as in countries in conflict or following a natural disaster.
It is a simple and cost-effective way to rapidly set up a disease surveillance system.
EWARS in a box
"EWARS in a box" contains all the equipment needed to establish surveillance and response activities, particularly in difficult and remote field settings without reliable internet or electricity.
The box contains 60 mobile phones, laptops and a local server to collect, report and manage disease data. A solar generator and solar chargers allow the phones and laptops to function without 24-hour electricity. A single kit costs approximately US$ 15 000 and can support surveillance for 50 fixed or mobile clinics serving roughly 500 000 people.
EWARS is deployed during an emergency as an adjunct to the national disease surveillance system. WHO works with Ministries of Health and health sector partners to train local health workers to use the system. After the emergency, EWARS should re-integrate back into the national system.
- Early warnings on disease outbreaks in the field - north eastern Nigeria example
- This photo essay illustrates how the first “EWARS in a box” was set-up in Mingkaman, South Sudan