Global Health Security

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) aims to strengthen national and international capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. MEASURE Evaluation works to strengthen the information systems that can detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases and known communicable diseases.

Today’s world is interconnected through the globalization of travel and trade, population mobility, and conflict, all of which increase risks to public health. Environmental changes have facilitated the movement of mosquitos and other disease vectors into areas where they had not been before. Many pathogens are zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Population growth has exacerbated the zoonotic threat as people are closer to livestock and other animals harboring pathogens—and closer to each other where transmission could quickly get out of hand. Moreover, the expected demand for animal products in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow as countries develop, resulting in increased numbers of livestock and poultry.

Preventing and reducing the likelihood of disease outbreaks is essential to save lives. Rapid response requires coordination and communication and strong health information systems (HIS) with contributing counterparts in community-based surveillance structures. MEASURE Evaluation—funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)—has a key role to play as it works to fulfill its mandate to strengthen HIS globally.

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was launched in 2014 by the United States and other industrialized nations—and now numbers more than 50 countries with a steering group of nations around the globe. It aims to strengthen national and international capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. The means are through training healthcare workers; establishing surveillance, reporting, and emergency response systems; ensuring laboratory capacity; and strengthening health systems.

To achieve this, the world must move toward a comprehensive, global system of defense against disease threats, such as the one that claimed 11,000 lives in West Africa due to an outbreak of Ebola in 2014. Other threats include H5N1 Avian Influenza,

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Lassa fever, Zika, and Marburg hemorrhagic fever, to name a few.

Current and accurate data are a critical to preparing and responding to disease threats. MEASURE Evaluation works to strengthen the information systems that can detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases and known communicable diseases. Here are examples of that work:

  • In Senegal, the project strengthened and expanded epidemic surveillance through community-based alerts on human and zoonotic diseases through community-based surveillance systems. This approach embraces the One Health approach to monitor eight priority human diseases and six priority zoonotic diseases. Community surveillance information is reported to and coordinated with the government ministries of health, livestock, and the environment. The project also assessed those departments to gauge the quality of service delivery, data and information systems, and community volunteers.
  • The project also is supporting training in Senegal for nurses and community health workers to identify and report priority human diseases (such as meningitis, Ebola, yellow fever, cholera, polio, diarrhea, measles, and neonatal tetanus) and zoonotic diseases (such as rabies, anthrax, avian flu, bovine tuberculosis, and Rift Valley fever).
  • In Mali, MEASURE Evaluation has supported the National Directorate of Health to improve the collection, analysis, and availability of epidemiological information in real time within an integrated DHIS 2 health data software platform. The effort has enabled community and district health centers nationwide to report into DHIS 2.
  • In Madagascar, the project helped unify the national HIS, with partners such as the Directorate for Malaria Control, to integrate disease surveillance reporting systems, reduce reporting redundancies, and address data quality shortcomings.
  • In Guinea, post-Ebola, MEASURE Evaluation helped create a health information system (HIS) where one had not existed and strengthened health information management, including fostering a culture of data use for decision making.
  • In Burkina Faso, the project is working to strengthen the disease surveillance system using the One Health approach; improve the availability of quality health data at all levels of the health system; increase multi-sectoral coordination; and build capacity to manage the surveillance information system, to enhance resiliency against major disease outbreaks, and improve data-driven decision making and rapid response to disease outbreaks.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, the project is supporting the National Institute for Public Hygiene to strengthen surveillance systems to detect and rapidly report on Ebola and other epidemic-prone diseases.
  • In Liberia after the Ebola epidemic, MEASURE Evaluation worked with the Ministry of Health to develop and initiate a new health information system strategy and costed operating plan, intended to contribute to a strong HIS that would be resilient to public health crises.
  • The project provided support to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control to strengthen surveillance capacity around tuberculosis, meningitis, and other infectious diseases.
  • Following the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone (2014) in which 4,000 people died, MEASURE Evaluation embedded two HIS experts in the health ministry for four months to contribute toward rebuilding a stronger, better, and more resilient HIS.

Related Content

Strengthening Multisectoral Community Event-Based Surveillance of Zoonotic Diseases in Senegal – Rapid Assessment of a Global Health Security Agenda Project

Community-based surveillance of priority diseases in Senegal: Lessons learned in pilot districts 

La surveillance à base communautaire des maladies prioritaires au Sénégal: Leçons apprises dans les districts pilotes

La Surveillance de Base Communautaire au Sénégal: Programme de formation (Training curriculum with eight PowerPoint modules)

On the Lookout for Infectious Diseases: Experiences from a Community-Based Surveillance Pilot Activity in Senegal

Strengthening Mali’s Epidemiological Surveillance System (Brief)

Strengthening Mali’s Epidemiological Surveillance System (Article)

Building from One Emergency to the Next

Plan Stratégique de Renforcement du Système d’Information Sanitaire 2018–2022 de Madagascar 

Manuel des Normes et Procedures du Système National d’Information Sanitaire à Madagascar 

Evaluation rapide des systèmes de surveillance des maladies à potentiel épidémique et épizootique dans une région du Burkina Faso

Learning, to Prevent the Next Outbreak (Video)

Apprendre, pour prévenir la prochaine flambée (Video)