The African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) with support from USCDC is leveraging on the existing country-based Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance activities in the West Africa region to describe AFI etiologies, including the prevalence and active circulation of these etiologies, surveillance system in place and laboratory capacity within the region. A three-day regional meeting was held last month in Ghana to conduct a situational analysis on the existing knowledge, expertise, previous accomplishments, current activities in laboratory and syndrome based AFI and related activities.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director of AFENET, Dr. Simon Nyovurra Antara, emphasised the strategic goals of AFENET and how AFENET has contributed significantly to the AFI response in Africa as well as other public health emergencies in Africa.
The meeting unveiled opportunities and challenges associated with developing regional AFI surveillance based on research and evidence. It provided opportunity for stakeholders and experts to discuss a way forward on how to have a regional surveillance system for AFI.
Map showing attendance at the meeting by country.
Major discussion points included: AFI surveillance as an important component of Health security architecture, linking AFI data to national system, identification of Sentinel surveillance sites and consideration for Event Based Surveillance (EBS) for AFI. Others included the use of centers of excellence, alternative diagnostics for AFI surveillance, use of digital diagnosis for AFI, use of multiplex bid assay, costs consideration, cost evaluation of AFI surveillance, AFI and COVID-19, and AFI surveillance in the context of one health among others.
A total of 38 participants from nine West African countries and representatives from Ghana Health Service, West African Health Organization, NavalMedical Research Unit, Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, Food Agricultural Organization and United State Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The participants at the meeting included Directors of surveillance, laboratory, AFI project coordinators and experts on AFI surveillance