MenAfriNet builds on the long history of collaboration with Ministries of Health to reduce the burden of meningitis in sub–Saharan Africa by leveraging the existing capacity of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) platform and harmonizing surveillance activities for meningitis where possible.
Assessment, technology transfer, training, and mentorship are the key areas that the MenAfriNet surveillance strengthening strategy focus on.
The MenAfriNet surveillance strengthening strategy will focus on enhancing epidemiology, laboratory, and data management capacity through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- A common framework of protocols and tools, and appropriate technology transfer
- Laboratory and surveillance/data management workshops to train the key operational staff
- Ongoing supervision and mentoring to improve data quality, analysis, and response
MenAfriNet sites will develop individualized country plans, including the type of surveillance (national or subnational/district-level population based, or sentinel hospital-based), and work plans for strengthening laboratory and epidemiologic capacity. Data quality and timeliness will be improved through training, implementation of enhanced data management tools, and routine monitoring of performance indicators. In addition, site work plans will include a strategy for establishing routine networks for specimen transport and data transmission.
MenAfriNet sites maintain full control over their meningitis surveillance data. Sites will continue to report all cases through their national surveillance systems which feed into the World Health Organization’s (WHO) reporting systems. In addition, MenAfriNet sites will submit their case-based data quarterly to a central MenAfriNet Data Management Team. MenAfriNet network data from all sites is analyzed annually for international and regional policy-makers and scientific audiences. A process to make network data and isolates accessible to partners will also be developed.