Assessing the Surveillance System for Priority Zoonotic Diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2017.


High-functioning communicable disease surveillance systems are critical for public health preparedness. Countries that cannot quickly detect and contain diseases are a risk to the global community. The ability of all countries to comply with the International Health Regulations is paramount for global health security. Zoonotic diseases can be particularly dangerous for humans. We conducted a surveillance system assessment of institutional and individual capacity in Kinshasa and Haut Katanga provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for nationally identified priority zoonotic diseases (eg, viral hemorrhagic fever [VHF], yellow fever, rabies, monkeypox, and influenza monitored through acute respiratory infections). Data were collected from 79 health workers responsible for disease surveillance at 2 provincial health offices, 9 health zone offices, 9 general reference hospitals, and 18 health centers and communities. A set of questionnaires was used to assess health worker training in disease surveillance methods; knowledge of case definitions; availability of materials and tools to support timely case detection, reporting, and data interpretation; timeliness and completeness of reporting; and supervision from health authorities. We found that health workers either had not been recently or ever trained in surveillance methods and that their knowledge of case definitions was low. Timeliness and completeness of weekly notification of epidemic-prone diseases was generally well performed, but the lack of available standardized reporting forms and archive of completed forms affected the quality of data collected. Lessons learned from our assessment can be used for targeted strengthening efforts to improve global health security.

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