Improving Surveillance, Prediction, and Investigation of Threats to Health

Among international donors, Direction de la Veille Sanitaire et de la Surveillance Epidemiologic (DVSSE) is increasingly recognized as the focal point for disease surveillance and data for decision-making in Madagascar and the nexus for functions that are typically designated to an NPHI. IANPHI’s visit to DVSSE in April 2015 resulted in a proposal to IANPHI for support of a project to strengthen public health functions and capacity in Madagascar so that DVSSE may fully operate as a robust center for public health. The overall goal of the project is to improve routine diseases surveillance; outbreak prediction, detection, and investigation; and emergency operations in Madagascar.

To strengthen surveillance, IANPHI’s project will include a three-part action strategy.

1. Update, validate, print, and disseminate the Ministry’s Strategic Plan for Disease Surveillance

2. Extend the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) program

3. Train surveillance staff

The project will also work to improve capacity in outbreak investigation and emergency operations. Funding was provided to ensure that DVSSE, which is responsible for surveillance and response in public health emergencies, has the capacity and resources to address potential outbreak risk and fulfill its new emergency operations function. DVSSE teams were supported to conduct 10 investigations of infectious disease outbreaks and 2 emergency operations responses.

Another component of the project is to improve public health research capacity in Madagascar. DVSSE has limited capacity for operational research, but the research questions that need answers are many. IANPHI is providing support to conduct critical operational research to inform response to important public health issues, such as environmental risk factors for plague and the changing epidemiology of malaria in Madagascar.

Finally, IANPHI will help improve DVSSE’s ability to predict outbreaks by supporting the convening of a working group to discuss and plan for development of the institute’s capacity for predictive modeling.