Surveillance system strengthening involves providing technical cooperation to CARPHA member countries to support and enhance their capacity in the areas of surveillance and risk assessment for communicable diseases, including air borne, food and water borne, sexually transmitted, vector borne and vaccine preventable diseases; surveillance of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors, injuries and violence; preparation and response to disasters, emergencies and special situations as it pertains to surveillance; and outbreak investigations. Surveillance is promoted as the mechanism that public health agencies should use to monitor the health of their communities. The work of the Agency encompasses strengthening all aspects of surveillance, namely data collection, collation, validation, analysis and interpretation; laboratory support for surveillance; and the production and use of timely information for planning, implementation and evaluation of public health practice.

The main role of the CARPHA laboratory is to support surveillance activities and strengthen laboratories in countries. However, it is recognized that some countries (especially those with smaller populations) have limited laboratory testing capacity; and to such countries CARPHA will provide primary testing services. One of the laboratory’s focus is the transfer of technology in order to facilitate the acquisition of the highest testing capacity that can be achieved in each country. It is recognized that this capacity varies between countries.

The areas of focus are strengthening sub-regional and national capacities in integrated communicable disease surveillance for the following:

  • Syndromes
  • Airborne diseases
  • Food and water borne diseases
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS
  • Vaccine preventable diseases
  • Vector borne diseases
  • Other diseases, including selected neglected diseases
  • Antimicrobial resistance

Note: See Annex 1 for list of diseases, case definitions and algorithms in each category