Directorate General Health Services Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
A number of health information systems (HIS) to capture data on communicable diseases under different public initiatives are operational in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). These systems, however, work in silos each focusing on the monitoring the activity or disease of its own interest. The province frequently faces emergency situations but it does not have system to provide regular, timely, and valid information on disease outbreaks and other health related disasters. The IDSRS is integrating existing HISs to establish one platform for timely and appropriately responding to the outbreaks of communicable diseases.
Consolidated guidelines have been developed for this purpose and health care professional/staff, and community groups are being trained to run the system effectively. The pilot is also helping the government in establishing first public health lab in any province to do testing for communicable diseases. As per its commitment to implementing international Health Regulations (IHR 2005), Pakistan has to establish an integrated disease surveillance and response system.
All public sector hospitals/health facilities service users are the direct beneficiaries of the pilot. Around 5% of the population (285,000) people living in target districts irrespective of ages and gender will directly benefit from the intervention. The pilot will also benefit a large number of health care professional/support staff indirectly. Specific information and disaggregated data on beneficiaries would become available once the pilot ends in July 2017. The project has been scaled up across the province.
- Eight health information systems operational in districts are getting integrated for the first time. A web based integrated system developed in the Health Department – including the web portal (www.idsrs.kphealth.pk) and e-surveillance application – for regularly monitoring and reporting upon 23 communicable diseases based on a comprehensive baseline survey.
- Training material/operational guidelines were developed and 40 master trainers produced in phase-I. These master trainers trained another 702 district health staff in phase-II till the end of March 2017.
- Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Health Department, Khyber Medical University, and National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad of January 2017, the first Reference Lab for Public Health has been established in any province to conduct tests on samples and provide results online for early response.
- Though the IDSRS is not fully operational, a total of 21 communicable disease outbreaks have been detected and responded since April 2016 through the arrangements made under the IDSRS project.
Adoption and Scale-up:
Average cost of implementing the model in one district is estimated at 45 million per year. At this rate, it will cost approximately PKR 1.25 billion to adopt this model across the province. This needs to be done preferably in three phases to ensure that the new practices are properly embedded in health care apparatus. The cost for each phase of implementation is estimated at PKR 405 million. The IDSRS system will benefit everyone in the province by early detection of alerts and prompt action to prevent any communicable disease from spreading. The project has been scaled up for the entire province.