3,455 community leaders and village health workers trained in event-based surveillance
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3,455 community leaders and village health workers trained in event-based surveillance

Maseru – To address delays in detecting and responding to health threats, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently conducted event-based surveillance training for 3,455 community leaders and village health workers in Mohales Hoek, Butha Buthe, Qachas Nek and Thaba Tseka districts.

Event-based surveillance is the systematic collection, monitoring, and evaluation of information about events that may threaten public health. These events can range from disease outbreaks to environmental disasters and other health-related incidents. Event-based surveillance strengthens public health preparedness and response mechanisms by proactively identifying and managing health events, enabling timely response and control measures.

An intra-action review (IAR) conducted in 2021 revealed that the adverse events following immunization (AEFI) surveillance system in Lesotho remains weak. One of the reasons contributing to this weakness is the lack of knowledge among health workers on the prevention, detection, reporting, management and investigation of AEFI.

“Event-based surveillance is therefore a critical step towards building a resilient public health infrastructure that can proactively detect and manage health events. By prioritizing early detection and response, this system will significantly contribute to preserving the well-being of communities and reducing the impact of health emergencies,” says Francis Abobo, a consultant to the WHO Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

Abobo explained that village health workers play a crucial role in event-based surveillance, as they are often the first point of contact within communities and have valuable information on local health dynamics. Their experiences and observations on the ground can contribute significantly to the improvement and effectiveness of event-based surveillance systems.

“Strengthening the capacity of village community health workers in community surveillance will help detect diseases at an early stage within their communities, thereby preventing the spread of diseases before they can become a burden on our health system,” says Malebonyane Mahase, a field epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health.

With the support of WHO and partners, event-based surveillance has been introduced in Lesotho.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Lesotho.