Health sector, partners discuss Seychelles’ new disease, surveillance strategy | 30 August 2019
Seychelles is the first World Health Organisation’s African member state to engage in the process of adapting the third Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response to fit its local context, only days after it was launched in Brazzaville, Congo during the organisation’s regional committee for Africa meeting.
The Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) is a World Health Organisation (WHO) tool used throughout the African continent to effectively deal with public health emergencies and epidemic. The first edition of the IDSR strategy technical guideline was widely adopted by African member states of WHO in 2002 and the second came out in 2010.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health hosted a working session for health professionals and other key stakeholders at the Avani Seychelles Resort & Spa, Barbarons to discuss and validate the adapted technical guidelines of the document.
The adapted version of the IDSR has been in the works weeks prior to this workshop, wherein local technicians and health professionals together with WHO technical experts have extensively reviewed the document to contextualise and adapt some sections for local use.
It was the Minister for Health, Jean-Paul Adam, who officially opened yesterday’s validation workshop.
“The IDSR as we know is a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy for strengthening national public health surveillance and response systems at the community, health facility, district and national level. The strategy makes explicit the skills, activities and resources needed at each level of the health system to operate all function of surveillance,” Minister Adam stated in his opening address.
Minister Adam noted that all member states are expected to enhance IDSR at all levels of their health care system.
“The Seychelles government takes disease surveillance and response seriously, and this is why the engagements are at very senior levels. The validation of the document today is but one step, more importantly are what will follow after today.”
Public Health Commissioner Dr Jude Gedeon later explained that the third edition of the IDSR covers various elements in regards to “diseases and events of public health importance”, and further explains how to conduct surveillance at each stage, provides case definitions of various diseases and how to respond to public health emergencies.
New to this IDSR however are sections relating to electronic surveillance, risk communication and how a country can adapt itself to better react to emergency cases.
“Work began a while ago to prepare the country for this third edition of the IDSR, but two WHO consultants further joined us a few weeks ago to revise the generic guidelines so as to adapt it to the local context. This is because many elements are not applicable to Seychelles, as a small island state which has some different diseases from other countries,” Dr Gedeon explained.
“Today, we have gathered other health professionals and partners to discuss and validate whether the contextualised IDSR will be adequate for Seychelles.”
The next step for the effective roll-out of the IDSR in Seychelles is an upcoming training of trainers which would build the capacity of key stakeholders in the private and public sector.