The World Health Organization Health Emergencies program (WHE) will revitalize the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) Taskforce that will guide use and scale-up of the revised IDSR guidelines and tools in the WHO African Region.  

In that regard, WHE convened a three-day regional meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, that offered an opportunity for countries to invigorate their national IDSR taskforces. The meeting enabled participants to share achievements, best practices and innovations, challenges, and future plans for IDSR in the African region. 

Subsequent taskforce meetings will be opportunities for partners to engage in useful dialogue on IDSR while building stronger surveillance and response systems in the WHO AFRO member states. This will enhance global health security. The taskforce is comprised of national governments, agencies and professional organizations.

Opening the meeting, the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng noted that disease surveillance and response are key to improving health systems in Africa. “The revitalization comes at a critical moment for the region as it has just dealt with a series of public health emergencies with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as the most critical”, she said.    
Dr Aceng highlighted the need for the taskforce to address the emerging public health needs and prevent the occurrence of disease in the region. She also acknowledged the support from WHO and applauded the work of WHE, in addressing public health emergencies in Africa.

For the last 20 years, IDSR has provided a framework for improving disease surveillance and response capabilities in the WHO African Region. “The critical role IDSR plays in enabling country health systems to detect disease outbreaks and strengthen their responses is important thus the need to scale up”, said Dr Zabulon Yoti, the Acting Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program at WHO Regional Office for Africa.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa with support from partners have designed guidelines and tools to provide countries with technical elements necessary to strengthen IDSR across all levels.

For more information please visit WHO Africa website http://www.afro.who.int/