The training session at the Buyas Hotel in Port Loko, assembled medical personnel across the country.
Addressing all at the training, the Executive Director of eHeath Africa; Evelyn Castle said she noticed during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the country’s lacked effective disease surveillance and reporting system, to rapidly report infectious diseases.
She further explained that had there been such a responsive system, the Ebola outbreak would had been reported earlier and measures would had been put in place to prevent it from becoming an epidemic.
She went on to say that, in order to prevent future disease epidemics, her organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation including other partners had decided to meet and put systems in place, in order to improve disease surveillance and reporting in Sierra Leone. She stressed that the system would be closely linked to Sierra Leone’s Front Line Field Epidemiology Program.
In his statement, the Communications Pillar Lead in the Public Health National Emergency Operations Centre at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Harold Thomas told all that to make disease surveillance stronger and effective, the country had introduced a nationwide electronics Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (eIDSR) system.
He said prior to the introduction of the electronics system of reporting, medical personal were using the paper system of reporting which was associated with so many problems.
Harold added that the new system could capture Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) data on any device including computers, tablets, and smart phones. He was quick to say that the new system which is presently being piloted had drastically reduced errors in entering data and was capturing and verifying data 60%faster than the old system.
He further stated that the meeting was set up to successfully discuss possible solution on how to switch from the analogue to the new software system. Harold submitted that Sierra Leone is currently utilising the EIDSR, a system that switched medical reportage from excel reporting to the District Health Information Software Platform, which currently exists more than 40 countries to enhance rapid report system, analyse, and share data; building better systems to rapidly capture data that is easy to understand, will help health officials to control the spread of diseases in the country; he ended.
Representing the Chief Medical Officer at the occasion, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amara Jambai thanked and applauded eHealth Africa for boosting the country’s health sector.
He went on to say that eHealth Africa is the only NGO in the country that is purely focused on disease surveillance and therefore should be commended. He furthered that the electronics system of reporting would greatly help District Health Management Teams (DHMTs), to receive data from Peripheral Health Units either by phones or hardcopies, a situation that enabled the verification process by DHMT Surveillance officers before transferring them to the data clerks for inputting.
He recounted that the system is currently operational at DHMT level, while adding that the system is also available in six PHUs or health facilities in the Port Loko district, where the information gathered being process and input to android format and transferred them to DHMT for national transmission.
Dr Jambai ended by encouraging the District Health Management Teams to be proactive in their operational areas.