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Eritrea adapts the WHO 3rd Edition Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) Technical Guidelines and Training Modules

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The unprecedented Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak of 2014 in West Africa and other recent health emergencies revealed that the IDSR and IHR (2005) had not been fully implemented in many Member States. This necessitated the review of the 2nd edition and development of 3rd Edition IDSR technical guidelines. Consequently, member states were expected to adapt the 3rd Edition IDSR technical guidelines to their country contexts.
On Friday 20th May 2022, Eritrea Ministry of Health finalized the adaptation of the World Health Organization (WHO) 3rd Edition IDSR Technical Guidelines (TGs) and Training Modules. The Ministry of Health (MOH) authorities with support from WHO convened two back-to-back meetings:

  • From 9th to 13th May, a workshop comprising of twenty (20) multi-disciplinary expert stakeholders from the national and subnational levels to review and adapt the WHO technical guidelines and training modules to Eritrean context. This workshop allowed participants to contextualize important elements in the third edition IDSR technical guidelines to the Eritrean situation while leveraging their experiences and lessons learned during implementation of the second edition IDSR TGs and COVID-19 pandemic to enhance IDSR systems responsiveness in Eritrea.
  • From 18th to 20th May 2022, a core team of five (5) reviewed all the inputs and recommendations provided by the team and finalized the 3rd Edition IDSR technical guidelines and training modules.

Eritrea is now poised to join the growing list of countries in the African Region that have successfully adapted the IDSR technical guidelines. The revised technical guideline will serve as a working reference document for the Eritrean health workforce at all levels of the health system and will facilitate early detection, notification, and timely response to public health events. The training modules which comprise of facilitators manual, participants manual and training slides will be utilized to build capacity of health care workers at all levels of the health system.

The IDSR technical guidelines clearly describe the roles of the different actors at all levels with regards to the surveillance functions which includes detection of priority diseases and conditions, reporting, data analysis, investigation of suspected outbreaks, preparing to respond, responding, monitoring, evaluation, and supportive supervision. The guidelines also recommend thresholds for action for identifying and responding to the threats.

A successful adaptation of the 3rd Edition IDSR technical guidelines is a key milestone towards strengthening IDSR implementation in Eritrea. Furthermore, in partnership with WHO, a follow up training of trainers (TOT) is planned as part of systemwide capacity development including specific job aids for surveillance actors and regular conduct of monitoring and evaluation.