From October 24-26 2022, TEPHINET and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) co-hosted a regional technical workshop on surveillance and health information systems in South America. The three-day workshop brought together representatives from the ministries of human, animal and environmental health, national laboratories, and National Institutes of Public Health (NPHI) of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay to identify approaches for enhancing surveillance and information systems capacity across the region.
The COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging epidemics continue to highlight the need for greater investments in public health infrastructures for countries to better detect, monitor, and respond to disease outbreaks and other public health threats. This includes enhancing Health Information Systems (HIS), particularly around linking surveillance and laboratory data, for improved detection of and response to infectious disease outbreaks.
Regional Technical Workshops provide an opportunity to bring countries together to share ideas, best practices, challenges, and formative experiences. During the workshop in Buenos Aires, participating countries learned about each other's epidemiological profile and current use of surveillance data, worked to enhance coordination of activities through the new CDC South America Regional (SAM) office, and shared the results of a regional landscape analysis of best practices and shared challenges.
TEPHINET Project Coordinator Jasmine Irish, who was heavily involved in planning the workshop, shared “This was an important strategic moment for the CDC in South America, as this is the first time bringing together countries in the region to discuss strengthening surveillance for public health.”
The workshop is part of a larger surveillance systems-strengthening project in South America, aimed at enhancing surveillance and information systems capacity both within Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay and across the region. Using the contacts and energy created during the regional technical workshop, the project will work to establish a Community of Practice (CoP) among the participants' different fields (i.e. laboratory, data analysis, technology, etc). This CoP will provide a forum for partners in the region to continue learning from each other and advocating for needed resources for surveillance systems.