Two Surveillance Systems in Haiti Monitor Disease Trends

Systems established after Jan. 12 earthquake identify those affected, coordinate relief efforts
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Two national surveillance systems established in Haiti after the magnitude-7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12 aim to enable government and community organizations to better monitor disease trends and coordinate relief efforts, according to two reports published in the Aug. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

As part of the National Sentinel Site Surveillance System, 51 hospital and clinic surveillance sites affiliated with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief were selected to report daily counts for 25 conditions. Reportable conditions were declared for 42,361 individuals between Jan. 25 and April 24. Nationally, acute respiratory infection (16.3 percent), followed by suspected malaria (10.3 percent) and fever of unknown cause (10.0 percent) were the most frequently reported specified conditions, with injuries accounting for 12 percent of reported conditions.

The Internally Displaced Persons Surveillance System (IDPSS) was established to monitor conditions of outbreak potential identified at nongovernmental organization (NGO) camp clinics in the post-earthquake period. According to the MMWR report, communication difficulties with the constantly changing group of NGO partners and limitations to the utility of IDPSS data due to the lack of reliable camp population denominator estimates were the key hurdles to implementing IDPSS.

"Improving future humanitarian response requires advance development and distribution of easily adaptable standard surveillance tools, development of an interdisciplinary strategy for an early and reliable population census to allow analysis of disease incidence, and development of communication strategies using locally available Internet and cellular networks," write the authors of the second report.

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