41.1  Importance of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system

IDSR brings many surveillance activities together to try and make sure that priority diseases can be controlled and prevented more effectively. The IDSR system requires that all important communicable diseases within a health facility are reported together, using the human and other resources already available within that facility. Collecting, analysing and reporting priority diseases in this way has several advantages:

  • First, it is cheap, since the same health personnel and reporting formats are also used for routine reports of health-related data.
  • Second, it creates an opportunity to computerise all the available data at the central level.
  • Third, it provides training and capacity building opportunities for health personnel to develop new skills.
  • Fourth, it encourages community participation to detect and respond to disease epidemics.

Thus, IDSR is a cost-effective surveillance system which addresses the major health problems of Ethiopia. Many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa have adopted a similar IDSR system.

  • From what has been mentioned above, is IDSR a passive or active surveillance system? Think back to Study Session 40 and give reasons for your answer.

  • IDSR is a passive surveillance system as the data used are collected during routine health work. Active surveillance, on the other hand, uses data collected after a request from higher authorities for specific information.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 41

41.2  Priority diseases for IDSR in Ethiopia