Linking Public Health Surveillance System to Policymaking and Local Development
The need to create surveillance systems that go beyond data release and generate useful, relevant, and accessible information to make appropriate decisions has been widely recognized. To reach this goal, the design and implementation of surveillance systems should consider not only technical issues but aspects that guarantee their sustainability and utility and, more important, the utilization of surveillance data for resource allocation and planning of health programs and interventions. Until now, key issues, such as political will, community involvement, local structures, decision-making processes, and accountability in surveillance outcomes, have been neglected.
For many years we have faced the same problems, all against the backdrop of an epidemiological mosaic where infectious and communicable diseases coexist, with limited capacity to conduct surveillance, low priority given to data by decision makers, and limited utilization of information, among other issues.
Technical, management, and political approaches involving new partnerships, new ways to involve different stakeholders in the process, new methods and tools, and ways to overcome resource restrictions and improve surveillance effectiveness must be devised. An alternative approach has been suggested to meet the aforementioned problems and to make surveillance socially responsible, relevant, and effective, not only for reporting but also for its contribution to producing and sustaining health changes. In this chapter, the vision, strategies, methods, tools, and results of a community-based surveillance system are presented. Three aspects are addressed: the context in which the surveillance is applied, the theory supporting the surveillance system, and the perspectives, goals, solutions, and lessons learned from previous experience.
KeywordsHealth promotion Policy Territory Intersectorality
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