Senegal

The West African country of Senegal faces significant challenges that affect its healthcare system, including gaps and weaknesses in human resources and capacity, equipment, quality services, health information systems (HIS), and management of infectious and chronic diseases.

The West African country of Senegal faces significant challenges that affect its healthcare system, including gaps and weaknesses in human resources and capacity, equipment, quality services, health information systems (HIS), and management of infectious and chronic diseases. The Ministry of Health and Social Action (MSAS) and its partners have introduced a package of essential services to improve maternal and newborn health and a minimum package of high-impact health services, focusing on the local level of community “health huts” (French: cases de santé).

One focus at the community level is Senegal’s response to institute a “One Health” strategy. Approximately 75 percent of new infectious diseases affecting humans originate from animals or animal products (zoonotic diseases). These include avian influenza, Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa Fever, and Rift Valley Fever. They pose serious threats in some countries, especially in West Africa. Recent experience—such as the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in Guinea—focused attention in Senegal to these threats.

One Health recognizes the interrelationship of health for people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. Through its Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting Senegal to institute One Health at the local, regional, and national levels. To improve the connection between the community level and the formal health system, the Senegal MSAS adopted a strategic plan in 2014 to expand community involvement and ownership throughout the country and to improve coordination.

MEASURE Evaluation, funded by USAID, has assisted in this effort, launching the first One Health zoonotic disease surveillance project in Senegal in 2017, focused on community surveillance for six priority zoonotic diseases and jointly involved Senegal’s health, livestock, and environmental sectors.

MEASURE Evaluation also assists the MSAS in other areas. The project works to improve the quality of the country’s early warning system for disease outbreaks within a more unified HIS. This effort includes the integration of community-level data and laboratory data to support a more efficient warning system. Further, the project established monthly data review meetings to assess the quality of data generated from the community surveillance and to monitor progress.

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