A measles outbreak coordination committee at the district level should be formed prior to the occurrence of the measles outbreak. The committee should meet periodically to coordinate epidemic preparedness and to plan and review response activities.
The outbreak coordination committee may include representatives from
- the district medical office;
- the Ministry of Health
district or provincial EPI manager;
disease control officers for communicable diseases;
national outbreak response officer;
officer in charge of drug supply;
- hospitals (clinicians and nurses) and laboratories;
- NGOs e.g. Red Cross and managers of outreach programmes to special populations;
- community health programmes;
- police and other public safety officers;
- community leaders and representatives;
- private-sector representatives (e.g. officials from a private hospital, clinic or laboratory).
The responsibilities of the outbreak coordination committee
- meet in the absence of an outbreak to plan for outbreaks;
- assess the supplies and equipment and resources currently available;
- estimate and identify resources and procedures for preventive mass vaccination campaigns;
- estimate and identify additional resources needed for rapid outbreak response;
- ensure the availability of staff and training for outbreak response;
- analyse epidemiological information as the outbreak progresses;
- assign responsibilities to staff with clear tasks and lines of communication;
- meet regularly to review data and monitor implemented measures;
- communicate with the general public and the media;
- evaluate the response;
- evaluate the immunization programme;
- produce a detailed report on outbreak response activities;
- make recommendations on any changes to vaccination strategies and programmes.
Roles and responsibilities at different administrative levels
The responsibilities of health authorities at district, regional, and national level during an outbreak must be clear. The district/regional/provincial level coordinates individual health facilities and plans and coordinates overall outbreak control activities. The national level coordinates outbreak control measures within the entire country, and international help, if appropriate, along with WHO and other partners. The appropriate international and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should become involved as early as possible. The following table outlines the responsibilities at each level.
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World Health Organization, Geneva
Response to Measles Outbreaks in Measles Mortality Reduction Settings: Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009 Mar. Annex 2, The outbreak coordination committee.