Policy Surveillance Technology Essay

Public surveillance technique has been hailed as critical for improving population health by generating information that drives action. Groeclose and Buckeridge (2017) in a study to examine the evolution of public health surveillance system reiterate that in 1970, only 7% of PubMed articles had discussed surveillance methods, but by 2015 the proportion had increased to 60%. This study demonstrates the rising breadth of application of public surveillance in the health care sector but it also emphasizes that there should be improvements in the systems driven by public health objectives. Nsubuga et al. (2006) also reiterate that most public health surveillance techniques are aimed to provide information to shape the type of intervention to be conducted. For instance, to detect epidemics such as SARS, one can use active surveillance to monitor early warning information. Ideally, public surveillance technique has undergone significant evolution, and as Choi (2012) confirms, the technique has been critical in improving public health surveillance to provide early warning. However, the investigator asserts that the capacity of public health has been limited with lack of global coverage and hence need to be enhanced for the good of humankind.

Public surveillance has been used for control of diseases such as malaria. China used a surveillance system to detect and respond to individual cases. According to Cao et al. (2014), the country public health system used 1-3-7 surveillance approach to monitor case reporting, investigation and response to prevent further transmission. A similar system of enhanced data collection has been used at the CDC. For example, in a study by Richards et al. (2017), CDC used enhanced data collection method to understand the cause of deaths in an important element of surveillance and by 2016, 50% death reports had reached CDC compared to 10% reported in 2011. This study confirms Calba et al. (2015) arguments that regular and relevant evaluations of surveillance systems are critical to improving the performance and cost effectiveness of public health delivery.

Public surveillance techniques aim to provide static spatially continuous maps of infectious diseases through novel data sources. According to a study by Hay et al. (2013), big data is often used to map out infectious disease occurrence at the national level. The authors argue how the use of systematic spatial disease risk has been used to map dengue disease. However, Klingler et al. (2017) posit that public health surveillance has not been ethically neutral. These sentiments are shared by Sambala et al. (2018) who believes that extraction of information from eligible sources can provide findings on the sensitivity and usefulness of surveillance systems. Similarly, Burris et al. (2016) make the case for the effective practice of policy surveillance to end the anomalous cases in public health importance. Indeed, policy surveillance offers the opportunity to build policy capacity in the public health system.

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