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Disasters. 2005 Dec;29(4):310-22.

Setting up an early warning system for epidemic-prone diseases in Darfur: a participative approach.

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1
World Health Organization (WHO), Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response Department, Epidemiological Surveillance Strengthening Team, Lyon, France. pintoa@lyon.who.int

Abstract

In April-May 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) implemented, with local authorities, United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), an early warning system (EWS) in Darfur, West Sudan, for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The number of consultations and deaths per week for 12 health events is recorded for two age groups (less than five years and five years and above). Thresholds are used to detect potential outbreaks. Ten weeks after the introduction of the system, NGOs were covering 54 camps, and 924,281 people (IDPs and the host population). Of these 54 camps, 41 (76%) were reporting regularly under the EWS. Between 22 May and 30 July, 179,795 consultations were reported: 18.7% for acute respiratory infections; 15% for malaria; 8.4% for bloody diarrhoea; and 1% for severe acute malnutrition. The EWS is useful for detecting outbreaks and monitoring the number of consultations required to trigger actions, but not for estimating mortality.

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