The East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network (EAIDSNet) is a regional collaborative initiative of the national ministries of the EAC Partner States responsible for human and animal health in collaboration with the national health research and academic institutions. The project is implemented with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the main objectives of the initiative are to:
Enhance and strengthen cross-country and cross-institutional collaboration through regional coordination of activities for the prevention and control of both human and animal (zoonotic) diseases under the “One Health” Initiative;
Promote exchange and dissemination of appropriate information on Integrated Disease Surveillance and other disease control activities;
Harmonise integrated disease surveillance systems in the region;
Strengthen capacity for implementing integrated disease surveillance and control activities; and
Ensure continuous exchange of expertise and best practices for integrated disease surveillance and control.
The overall goal of the project is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to common communicable diseases in the East African region through the establishment of a strong network capable of generating useful epidemiological information for early warning of impending epidemics as well as supporting joint planning and implementation of disease control measures.
Under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC), the EAIDSNet structure delineates the organisational system under which it is being implemented.
The EAIDSNet Steering Committee provides direction to the Network by:
Approving and monitoring the implementation of the Network’s plan;
Approving the terms of reference and monitoring the activities of Technical Working Groups; and
Approving the addition of new institutions / organisations to the Network.
Strategies of the EAIDSNet Network
The implementation of the Network activities utilises several strategies which include:
Strengthening National Disease Surveillance Systems through the establishment of National Networks which involve all stakeholders including the research community, disease control groups from the Ministry of Health, non-governmental organisations and public health associations;
Focusing attention on priority diseases for surveillance identified by the Network in order to enhance utilisation of epidemiological information and preventive methods thus developed;
Strengthening border district capacities for data management as well as capacity to recognise impending epidemics and setting the support systems early enough;
Enhancing synergistic actions in response to epidemics and the development of functional alarm systems;
Promoting use of Geographical Information System in disease surveillance by securing training courses and funds on behalf of the health staff; and
Functioning and implementing Network activities through and with support from the EAC.
Some of the achievements registered since the establishment of EAIDSNet include:
Establishment of mechanisms for disease surveillance and control in each EAC Partner State;
Identification of priority diseases for surveillance in each country;
Establishment of strong links between research, control, and policy and decision makers;
Each country is in the process of finalising and testing disease surveillance guidelines;
Each country has identified an operational focal point and activities related to disease surveillance and control;
The network has an established coordinating mechanism; and