Public health surveillance is the continuous, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of health-related data needed for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice. The purpose is to allow public health priorities to be set, and to inform public policy and strategies.
Such surveillance can:
- Serve as an early warning system for impending public health emergencies.
- Estimate magnitude and scope of health problems, measure trends and characterize disease.
- Assess effectiveness of programs and control measures.
- Monitor and clarify the epidemiology of health problems, and stimulate research.
HIV surveillance, monitoring and evaluation are essential for program managers to assess the impact and effectiveness of interventions and linkages between services along the cascade of prevention, treatment and care for HIV and associated conditions. Patient monitoring systems are important to support people receiving treatment over time and as they move between clinics and districts, to ensure retention in care. It is essential to monitor outcomes including mortality, survival, incidence, toxicity and adverse effects, drug resistance, and suppression of viral load.
In 2020, WHO published the Consolidated HIV strategic information guideline. These guidelines – an update to the World Health Organization’s 2015 publication Consolidated strategic information guidelines – present a set of essential aggregate indicators and guidance on choosing, collecting and systematically analysing strategic information to manage and monitor the national health sector response to HIV.
PAHO is working with countries to improve strategic information regarding services for key populations and HIV surveillance, supporting countries to calculate the HIV cascade of care and HIV prevention cascade. Also improving data on STI with modeling exercises on STI including congenital syphilis.