Home Articles Disease Early Warning System implementation

Disease Early Warning System implementation

Fozia Bashir
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan
[email protected]

Tayyab Ikram
Visiting Faculty, GIS and RS,
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan

Emerging infectious diseases pose a growing health threat to people everywhere. Surveillance is the primary public health tool to detect and monitor infections. In Pakistan for the purpose of surveillance and outbreak prediction Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) is being used. GIS and remote sensing are now considered important new tools for the study and control of malaria. Keeping this in mind this study has been designed to use GIS as a tool for the implementation of DEWS.

Emerging infectious diseases pose a growing health threat to people everywhere. Some emerging infections result from deforestation, increased development, climate changes and other environmental changes that bring people into contact with animals or insects that harbor diseases only rarely encountered before. Surveillance is the primary public health tool to detect and monitor infections.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Surveillance is defined as the “ongoing systematic collection, collation, analysis and interpretation of data; and the dissemination of information to those who need to know in order that action may be taken”. In Pakistan the Health Management Information System (HMIS), is able to collect, process, analyze and provide feedback on all health related data. HMIS is currently generating information that flows directly from the First Level Care Facilities (FLCF) to the district and provincial level. FLCF’s include Rural Health Centers (RHCs), Basic Health Units (BHUs), Dispensaries, Out Patient Departments (OPDs) of hospitals (National HMIS Cell, 1999).

In Pakistan for the purpose of surveillance and outbreak prediction Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) is being used. DEWS is operational at FLCFs of the health system and is an integral part of the district HMIS. The main goal of the DEWS is to minimize morbidity and mortality due to communicable diseases by detecting epidemics at their earliest possible stages. Under the DEWS, one Medical Officer and one laboratory technician at each health facility are given training to focus on the suspected signs and symptoms rather than the probable or the confirmed cases.