The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) are building a global health security programme that aims to strengthen both regional and national health through networked, collaborative efforts to improve infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance surveillance. To achieve this, the Africa CDC is calling for a data-sharing platform that can be leveraged across member states and disease areas, strengthening the ability to collate, analyse and interpret data, and to respond with the appropriate action. Although numerous disease intelligence and surveillance systems exist, they are plagued with inaccurate or untimely data. We contend, furthermore, that it was this lack of data quality – and not the lack of surveillance systems or networks – that prevented the global community from acting earlier in response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014–2016. The new field of ‘connected diagnostics’ is one solution to this concern, as it automates data collection directly from the diagnostic instruments to multiple levels of stakeholders for real-time decision-making and policy response. This article details how the intervention of ‘connected diagnostics’ could solve the primary underlying failure in existing surveillance systems – the lack of accurate and timely data – to enable difficult political decisions earlier. The use of connectivity solutions can enable critical health and operational data to empower the Africa CDC, regional hubs, and each country with a consistent and automated data feed while still maintaining country privacy and controls.
Gous, N. M., Onyebujoh, P. C., Abimiku, A., Macek, C., & Takle, J. (2018). The role of connected diagnostics in strengthening regional, national and continental African disease surveillance. African Journal of Laboratory Medicine, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v7i2.775