Surveillance System in public health

Surveillance System in public health

It is crucial that the public health care organizations prepared comprehensively for the health consequences that follow disasters such as storms and hurricanes or earthquakes that cause significant destruction or loss of life. Surveillance is a vital component of all the emergency plans. Surveillance as we know it is the step by step continuous gathering, collation and analysis of information and timely disseminating of the data to the people who are in need of it so that something can be done (Bayram, Kysia, & Kirsch, 2012). Surveillance in the aftermath of a natural disaster can aid identify the consequential health related needs which ultimately more efficient and rational allocation of resources to the populations that are affected.

A challenge that arises is being able to predict the type and degree of surveillance needed to respond to a disaster. Insufficient monitoring caused by lack of planning leads to an inaccurate estimation of the need for resources to address the post-disaster health issues subsequently leading to preventable disease incidence and death (Polonsky et al., 2013). It is, therefore, vital that one can match the magnitude and the type of surveillance to the scale and type of disaster if efficient delivery of response is to be realized.

Surveillance plays a significant role in the plans and preparations for public health activities in disaster areas at the national level by the World Health Organization (WHO). Surveillance also involves some clinical and medically oriented aspects of emergency health response after the initial disaster impact such as triaging and mass casualty management (Polonsky et al., 2013). For instance the mass casualty management and triaging after disasters such as the 9 11 attacks and the hurricane storms in the U.S.




Bayram, J., Kysia, R., & Kirsch, T. (2012). Disaster Metrics: A Proposed Quantitative Assessment Tool in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies – The Public Health Impact Severity Scale (PHISS). Plos Currents.

Polonsky, J., Luquero, F., Francois, G., Rousseau, C., Caleo, G., & Ciglenecki, I. et al. (2013). Public Health Surveillance After the 2010 Haiti Earthquake: the Experience of Médecins Sans Frontières.Plos Currents.


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