SOUTH SUDAN – The South Sudan Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank Group have teamed up to strengthen national disease surveillance and response capacities for early detection and rapid containment of disease outbreaks.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Health supported by the World Health Organization with funding from the World Bank has trained over 200 healthcare workers with the aim to improve real-time detection and prompt response to disease outbreaks and public health threats.
Furthermore, South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partners continue to strengthen disease surveillance and response to attain the International Health Regulations of (2005) core capacity requirements for surveillance and response.
Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) is a web-based system and designed to improve disease outbreak detection in emergency settings.
The Ministry of Health and WHO partnered to train healthcare workers on the use of Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) in over 20 counties in South Sudan to optimize its use to support surveillance, alert management, outbreak response and laboratory data and management.
According to WHO, the Early Warning, Alert and Response System is a web-based system and designed to improve disease outbreak detection in emergency settings.
The objective of the training was to build the capacity of county surveillance officers and health authorities to effectively respond to the health needs of people in humanitarian settings thus detecting disease outbreaks quickly before they spread.
The capacity building exercise also aimed at strengthening EWARS reporting by training healthcare workers across South Sudan to identify and raise alerts in the system, verify alerts, investigate triggered alerts and submit verification and investigation findings to the EWARS system successfully.
“In 2017, the Early Warning, Alert and Response System project was rolled out to all the 80 Counties of South Sudan with the second phase of the rollout further decentralizing data collection and alert management down to the health facility level from 2019 to early 2020,” WHO highlights.
The World Health Organization disclosed that before the rollout of EWARS in the South Sudan, the integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) weekly reporting rates were as low as 30% which is far below the target of 80%.
“Following the completion of the EWARS rollout to the health facilities, the reporting rates improved and surpassed the target of 80% on completeness and timeliness of weekly IDSR reporting,” WHO further said.
The specialized agency of the United Nation cautioned that South Sudan is experiencing multiple diseases outbreaks and floods, adding that the outbreaks increase the risk of transmission of infectious diseases and other health conditions such as severe malnutrition.
At the same time, WHO Representative for South Sudan Dr Fabian Ndenzako observed that infectious diseases can cost lives and become difficult to control if they are not detected and responded timely while acknowledging the World Bank for funding the disease surveillance training activities.
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