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Commun Dis Intell Q Rep. 2004;28(3):311-23.

Evaluation of Australia's National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System.

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National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.


The Australian National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) is a passive surveillance system that collects information on communicable diseases. The Australian Government manages NNDSS under the auspices of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA). Data collected by each state and territory are collated, analysed and disseminated by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. We report the first evaluation of NNDSS since it was established in 1991. Three primary stakeholder groups were surveyed: (a) CDNA members, (b) the National Surveillance Committee and (c) the readership of Communicable Diseases Intelligence, the primary means of data dissemination from NNDSS. The evaluation revealed that the system was acceptable, structurally simple, and that the data collected were actively used by stakeholders. However, the lack of clearly documented aims and objectives for NNDSS, inflexibility to changing needs, lack of timeliness and complexity in processes were seen as problematic. The results of this evaluation, supported by recent federal funding to enhance national biosecurity, will provide the framework for enhancing NNDSS to meet national communicable disease surveillance requirements in Australia.

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