The World Health Organization (WHO) has embarked on the implementation of the Sentinel Surveillance for Influenza in various hospitals, to reduce the death rate at the result of wrongful treatment.
WHO said influenza is estimated to be at 3-5 million cases of severe illness and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide.
According to WHO, currently there are limited data regarding epidemiological patterns, risk factors and burden of influenza diseases as well as the economic impact in tropical and subtropical regions in Africa.
WHO disclosed its plan yesterday at the opening of a five-day training workshop, which brought together over 50 health workers from east, west and central Africa. The program was held in Monrovia under the theme, “Implementation of Sentinel Surveillance Influenza in Liberia.”
Mosoka Fallah, National Public Health Institute Deputy Director General for Technical Services, disclosed that all the health centers in Liberia present about 4.3 million people with fever yearly, but truly speaking there are only 2.2 million people diagnosed with real malaria.
Fallah said the remaining 2.1 million, who are not diagnosed with malaria, still receive anti malaria treatment and antibiotics.
“This is almost like shooting a brown bullet, knowing the judicious use of antibiotic. Imagine what will happen when they are treating 2.1 million people with anti-malaria drugs and antibiotic for diseases they do not know,” he said.
Fallah urged health workers to make use of the knowledge they will learn from the training in hospitals and labs, indicating that “knowledge is useless if you cannot apply it.”
Also speaking was Professor Richard Njouom, a facilitator at the training exercise. He said the objective of the training is to identify the gaps in the sentinel surveillance for influenza not only in Africa but globally, which would help to strengthen the detection diagnosis and monitoring factors in Africa.
Prof. Njouom said the aim of the training is to enable participants describe the virology and epidemiology of the influenza virus and to develop a work-plan for implementation of sentinel surveillance for influenza.
“We also want to describe respiratory specimen collection and handling transportation as well as to process, organize, summarize and present the sentinel for influenza,” he said.
Nuha Mahnound, who is from WHO Liberia, told participants to be the front soldiers in the implementation of Sentinel Surveillance Influenza to make it a success story in Liberia.
In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) funded the Strengthening Influenza Sentinel Surveillance in Africa (SISA) project with the goal of developing and strengthening influenza surveillance in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Sierra Leone. The process was described as establishing a functional Influenza Sentinel Surveillance (ISS) system in Sierra Leone, a post-conflict resource-poor country previously lacking an influenza monitoring system.