In countries with limited capacities of epidemiological surveillance, disease outbreaks often go unnoticed. As a result, early detection and timely response is difficult. This is a challenge that particularly affects resource-restricted regions, such as countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Here the growing digital infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and advances in communication technologies, particularly in the mobile-phone sector, hold considerable potential for improving local monitoring systems that allow for more efficient and timely information exchange. For example, the collection of health data through mobile devices and the use of Open Data as a new dimension of traditional epidemiological surveillance systems open new avenues for research and development. However, they also require joint efforts of qualified actors across borders and research disciplines.
The Overall Objective of the ESIDA project is to connect skills, methods and data objects from different research disciplines and information sources in order to design new approaches of data-driven health information and surveillance systems for early detection and control of emerging infectious disease outbreaks in the target region Tanzania. The project builds upon previous networks of German and African partners and aims to strengthen international cross-disciplinary collaboration in research and education, involving epidemiology, clinical research, biosecurity, public health, environmental sciences, computer and data sciences.
To achieve this goal, ESIDA aims at enhancing interdisciplinary and international collaboration in research and education in the field of epidemiological surveillance. The anticipated outcome is the pre-prototype electronic health information and surveillance system ESIDA that aims to strengthen epidemiological surveillance in Tanzania and help alert local public health actors at an early stage of an outbreak. In the long term, the ESIDA system could be extended to the member states of the East African Community (EAC) to support efforts of local field diagnostics as part of an existing national laboratory project.
For further details please visit the ESIDA project description provided by CONNECT / Federal Ministry of Education and Research.