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NIH to replicate disease surveillance, response model

Islamabad :In collaboration with Public Health England, the Field Epidemiology and Diseases Surveillance Division (FEDSD) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) is designing a real time Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response model which will shortly be piloted in selected districts of all provinces.

Pakistan is facing the double burden of communicable as well as non-communicable diseases due to an epidemiological transition. On the communicable disease front, various geographical areas continue to encounter outbreaks resulting in significant burden on the national healthcare delivery system in terms of morbidity as well as mortality. The NIH is involved in detection, prevention and response to public health events of national and international concern and provision of technical logistic support to provinces for over four decades.

The FEDSD is vigilant to infectious diseases distribution and trends, and accordingly issues alerts, guidelines and advisories as and when required in addition to compiling data of epidemic-prone diseases from all over the country. Also, FEDSD is providing trainings to federal and provincial health staff to acts as ‘Rapid Response Teams’ to tackle outbreaks and epidemics. A health hub is being operationalized at NIH and Zoonotic as well as Entomology reference laboratory capacities are being enhanced to detect, prevent and respond to other vector borne and zoonotic diseases in collaboration with Animal Health and environment professionals.

The Public health Laboratories Division of is providing diagnostic facilities for epidemic-prone diseases; it also supports strengthening of laboratory diagnosis for early detection of cases, surveillance and infection control measures in healthcare facilities. The Public Health Laboratory network is being extended to the provincial headquarters for early diagnosis and management of diseases.

The NIH has established Disease Surveillance and Response Units (DSRUs) in Director General Health offices at all provinces, AJK, G-B and FATA in collaboration with FELTP Pakistan. Trained work force along with FELTP trainees is deployed at all DSRUs to conduct surveillance, response and outbreak investigations. All DSRUs are involved in response to prevalent diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue and CCHF. Being IHR focal point, a comprehensive five-year roadmap has been developed in consultation with the provinces to strengthen the public health and animal health systems of the country.

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