In 2008-2009 WHO is providing the Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services with support to strengthen the surveillance systems to enhance their ability to detect outbreaks and trends in diseases, and therefore tailor their public health and curative responses.
A WHO epidemiologist has been working with staff from nursing and medical services, health information, environmental health, the laboratory, health promotion and management who all have a role in surveillance and response to outbreaks of communicable diseases.
It is clear that surveillance and response involves many persons working closely together so during meetings with key stakeholders procedures for responding to an outbreak were shared and recommendations about communication were made. The epidemiologist trained nurses on use of case definitions, outbreak line lists, a new surveillance outbreak flow chart and improving outpatient medical records. Key ministry of health staff also participated in training on how to analyse information from surveillance to ensure timely detection and response to new outbreaks.
A surveillance committee involving the key Ministry of Health stakeholders was established, and since the formation of this group two major outbreaks have been reported that has required their combined response.