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BMC Res Notes. 2014 Apr 18;7:252. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-252.

Evaluation of the acute flacid paralysis (AFP) surveillance system in Bikita district Masvingo province 2010.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, University of Zimbabwe, P O Box A178, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe.



AFP is a rare syndrome and serves as a proxy for poliomyelitis. The main objective of AFP surveillance is to detect circulating wild polio virus and provide data for developing effective prevention and control strategies as well planning and decision making. Bikita district failed to detect a case for the past two years.


A total of 31 health workers from 14 health centres were interviewed. Health worker knowledge on AFP was low in Bikita. The system was acceptable, flexible, and representative but not stable and not sensitive since it missed1 AFP case. The system was not useful to the district since data collected was not locally used in anyway. The cost of running the system was high. The district had no adequate resources to run the system. Reasons for not reporting cases was that the mothers were not bringing children with AFP and ignorance of health workers on syndromes captured under AFP.


Health worker's knowledge on AFP was low and all interviewed workers needed training surveillance. The system was found to be flexible but unacceptable. Reasons for failure to detect AFP cases could be, no cases reporting to the centres, lack of knowledge on health workers hence failure to recognise symptoms, high staff turnover.

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