53. Public Health Surveillance: A Tool for Targeting and Monitoring Intervention


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Editors/Authors: Peter Nsubuga, Mark E. White, Stephen B. Thacker, Mark A. Anderson, Stephen B. Blount, Claire V. Broome, Tom M. Chiller, Victoria Espitia, Rubina Imtiaz, Dan Sosin, Donna F. Stroup, Robert V. Tauxe, Maya Vijayaraghavan, and Murray Trostle
Pages: 22


Richard Lord, www.rlordphoto.com

Public health surveillance (that is, the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of data) is an essential tool for ministries of health, ministries of finance, and donors to allocate resources effectively and efficiently and manage public health interventions.

The public health objectives and actions needed to make successful interventions determine the design and implementation of surveillance systems so they can gather and present focused, reliable, timely evidence. Various surveillance systems have been developed and tested to accommodate different needs, such as systems for identifying and preventing infectious diseases, especially in epidemics, and systems for targeting, monitoring, and evaluating health risks and interventions. A critical challenge in the health sector in developing countries is to assure quality and effectiveness of surveillance and public health response, and to develop and maintain a cadre of competent, motivated surveillance and response workers.

A consensus on critical surveillance content must be developed, and countries, funding partners, and multilateral organizations need to make commitments to invest in surveillance system infrastructure and the use of surveillance data as the basis for decision making. Information technology can facilitate the collection, analysis, and use of surveillance data, if data standards are developed and compatible systems are used.