Strengthening disease surveillance and response for early detection and response


Juba – to improve reporting performance and capacity to detect outbreaks, the World Health Organization (WHO) supported the Ministry of Health (MoH) to review the progress and achievements of the integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) program in South Sudan during 2020, with the aim of developing tailored strategies to improve program performance in 2021.

With support from WHO and funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the MoH has continued to make progress towards building a robust national disease surveillance system with capacities for early detection and timely response to rapidly contain emerging disease outbreaks. In 2020, the IDSR system helped in identifying, investigating and responding to outbreaks of measles, yellow fever, hepatitis E virus, circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), and COVID-19 in multiple locations.  

“Given South Sudan’s increased vulnerability to disease outbreaks, strengthening national disease surveillance, response and control systems is paramount for early detection and rapid containment of major disease outbreaks to reduce needless illnesses and deaths”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO representative for South Sudan.

Support for early disease detection and response

Reporting performance is a major indicator of the sensitivity of the system to detect public health threats.

To improve IDSR performance in the country especially in hard to reach areas, WHO with funding from USAID, donated 50 motorbikes, 80 laptops, 120 phones and 300 power banks with the EWARS application installed, allowing them to submit IDSR reports immediately to State and National level and verify any alerts that are triggered. The overall reporting performance in 2020 was 83% for timeliness and 93% for completeness against the national target of 80%.

WHO is committed to continue supporting the MoH to build an effective national disease surveillance system using the IDSR strategy. WHO has been supporting the MoH and partners to detect and respond to outbreaks through the development and dissemination of disease surveillance guidelines and case definitions; regular IDSR and rapid response team trainings to improve core capacities for surveillance and response at all levels.

Since 2006, South Sudan has implemented the IDSR strategy. The strategy offers a framework for attaining the International Health Regulations (2005) core capacity requirements to strengthen the national disease surveillance system.

Notes to editors:

Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) is a strategy adopted by WHO AFRO member states for implementing comprehensive public health surveillance and response systems for priority diseases, conditions and events at all levels of health systems in African countries. The strategy aims to integrate multiple surveillance systems, and link surveillance and laboratory data to guide public health decisions with the county as the center of implementation.

Technical contacts:

Dr Wamala Joseph Francis, Email: wamalaj [at]

Dr Alice Igale Lado, Email: ladua [at]


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