WHO targets students in health training institutions to strengthen national health securities

Brazzaville, 16 November 2015 - In an ambitious move to strengthen national health securities and improve health outcomes, the World Health Organization (WHO) is initiating the introduction of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) in the training curricula for students in pre-service and in-service health training institutions in the African Region.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) developed a guide for the introduction of IDSR in the curriculum targeting the mid-level and university level health training institutions. Considering the high turnover of the staff trained on IDSR, this effort will contribute to further strengthening the capacities of Member States for early detection and response to priority diseases, conditions and events in response to the increasing frequency and severity of public health events (PHEs).

This is crucial considering that every year, there are more than 100 acute PHEs reported in the Region in addition to the emerging threat of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) which further over-stretch the health systems causing devastating health, economic and social challenges in affected communities.

“The threat of outbreaks and epidemics of communicable and public health emergencies is alarming and WHO has decided to provide essential knowledge and skills with examples of proven strategies and practical exercises to upcoming health care leaders to further strengthen integrated disease surveillance and response implementation and save lives,” says Dr Ibrahima-Socé Fall, Director of the Health Security and Emergencies Cluster at WHO/AFRO.

Every effort will be made work with Ministry of Health, the training institutions and other relevant stakeholders to provide the trainees knowledge and skills in surveillance and outbreak response activities. This approach is in line with the International Health Regulations (2005) and the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategies to effectively reach the community and health care facility level – where it saves lives.

“In a large number of health districts, the trained human resources to ensure the proper and efficient implementation of IDSR are insufficient. Targeted training will have a powerful impact on health outcomes all the way down to the community level,” says Dr Yahaya Ali Ahmed, Programme Manager, Integrated Disease Surveillance at WHO/AFRO.

Activities for each level of a health system have been identified to facilitate disease detection, reporting, analysis, investigation, response, communication, monitoring, evaluation and preparedness.

Once the guideline is published, WHO will require governments, stakeholders and non-state actors within countries to help prioritize and scale-up implementation of the curricula in health institutions across the African Region.


For additional information, please contact:

Technical contacts: 

Dr Ibrahima-Socé Fall; Tel: + 472 413 9695; Email:socef [at] who.int

Dr Yahaya Ali Ahmed; Tel: +472 413 9248; Email:aliahmedy [at] who.int

Dr Peter Gaturuku; Tel: +472 413 9185; Email:gaturukup [at] who.int

Dr Soatiana Rajatonirina; Tel: +472 413 9126; Email:rajatonirinas [at] who.int

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