Importance of Surveillance and Detection in Public Health
The Federal EPI Surveillance System works as per the module of The World Health Organization (WHO) which defines public health surveillance as the “continuous, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data needed for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice”. The aggregation of quality health-related data is paramount to the success of all public health initiatives. Without correct and current data, diseases are misunderstood, health programs do not accomplish their goals, and resources are incorrectly allocated. Functioning surveillance systems are necessary for the success of global health initiatives. However, surveillance systems that collect useful and representative data in developing countries are often non-existent and hard to create. The failure of surveillance systems in developing countries is often due to limited available resources, lack of knowledgeable staff, disorganization, and poor infrastructure for finding and reporting cases. Stronger public health surveillance systems in EPI Pakistan will allow EPI officials to more accurately describe and assess the state of health problems. Reliable data can improve health promotion programs, and help policy makers and investors allocate resources effectively.
Data and Defining the Health Problem
A health problem must be well defined before it can be solved. EPI Surveillance systems generate data that help public health officials understand existing and emerging infectious and non-infectious diseases. Without a proper understanding of the health problem (etiology, distribution, and mechanism of infection), it will be difficult to ameliorate the health issue. Continued data collection is needed to monitor new diseases that threaten global health security and the changes in distribution and virulence of well-known diseases. Information collected on novel diseases include characteristics such as the type of pathogen involved, symptoms caused, the infected population, and the morbidity and mortality rates. Without surveillance, EPI officials would be stabbing blindly at health problems, which is a waste of precious resources. Understanding the pathogen involved helps scientists understand where and how to intervene.
Data and Health Programming
Once data generated from surveillance systems are compiled and analyzed, EPI officials can draw a picture of the health problem, and begin to create public health interventions. Evidence-based practice in public health depends on current and correct data. After a program is created and implemented, continued surveillance is important to the program’s evaluation. Program evaluation allows leaders to modify the program to make it more successful.
Data, Public Policy, and Funding
EPI Surveillance systems generate specific data on diseases and geographic areas are imperative because that help measure the relative importance of a health event. Facts about disease distribution and determinants that come from surveillance help EPI and other stakeholders make more informed decisions about where, when, and how to spend money and time in order to elicit the best results.