Monitoring Vital Signs: Integrated Disease Surveillance at NCDC
India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is the focal point for leadership in the country’s fight against communicable diseases. NCDC uses a multi-disciplinary approach to conduct surveillance and response, as well as provide referral diagnostic services for communicable diseases for which diagnostic facilities are ordinarily not available, such as anthrax, certain viral diseases, and mycotic infections.
Although one of the most rapidly developing economies in the world, India continues to be plagued by an enormous burden and range of infectious diseases and challenged by longstanding problems in disease detection and reporting. To improve surveillance and response, India’s NCDC, with assistance from the World Bank, launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) in November 2004. The aim: to detect and respond to disease outbreaks quickly in India.
In a mark of early success, surveillance units have been established and trained surveillance officers designated in all states and districts. Reporting rates have increased, and more outbreaks are being identified and investigated. But limitations in areas such as human resources and information technology represent major challenges for optimal IDSP implementation.
To celebrate IDSP’s successes and identify and address challenges, an IDSP Strategic Workshop was held on August 8-9, 2013, in Delhi, co-sponsored by NCDC, IANPHI, and U.S. CDC-Delhi. The event brought together a range of stakeholders from government agencies, state and district surveillance units, and agencies from outside the Government of India.
The goal was to support NCDC in conducting a quick assessment of the status of IDSP and formulating a vision for the future and a high-level roadmap for next steps to achieve the vision. The workshop involved wide-ranging prepared remarks that included a range of perspectives on IDSP, as well as information about surveillance in other programs and countries. These were interspersed with open and fruitful discussions.
Participants in the meeting identified several possible next steps that could lead to improved public health data and interventions in India. Since then, several recommendations have been implemented, including a standardized assessment of public health laboratories and the laboratory system. A follow-up meeting is tentatively planned for 2014 to review progress since the 2013 meeting and identify further efforts that could be undertaken to strengthen disease detection and response.
To celebrate IDSP's successes and identify and address challenges, an IDSP Strategic Workshop was held on August 8-9, 2013, in Delhi, co-sponsored by NCDC, IANPHI, and U.S. CDC-Delhi.