Public health surveillance
Public health surveillance of communicable diseases involves continuous data collection, examination of the data (data analysis), interpretation of the data and dissemination of the information to concerned bodies. Based on the information, health professionals like you, supported by the higher authorities, can take appropriate disease control measures. Surveillance activities are information loops that start with data collection and end with appropriate disease control measures, as shown in the figure below.
As part of a health care team with reponsibility, you will routinely need to collect, analyse and interpret health-related data, and send reports of your findings. In addition, during an outbreak or epidemic of infectious disease (i.e. an increase in the expected number of cases), you will need to work with other health team members to actively find new cases in your catchment area. In the following sections, we will present detailed descriptions of the activities needed for surveillance as set out in the boxes in the figure above.