Practices of Disease Surveillance and Response in Burkina Faso

Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 504)


Efforts to fight communicable diseases in Africa have been harmonized through the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) framework. Following recent large outbreaks of SARS and Ebola further calls to strengthen disease surveillance and response, for example through information technology, are being made. To avoid parallel systems, data for IDSR is sought to be integrated into countries’ existing electronic health information systems (HIS). As experiences in this area are still limited, studying existing practices of disease surveillance and response could serve as a prerequisite for providing such electronic support for IDSR. The paper engages in this question by applying a knowing-in-practice perspective to a case of disease surveillance and response in Burkina Faso. The findings suggest that disease surveillance and response can be conceptualized as two interrelated yet distinct practices; that of surveillance and that of response. Surveillance is being both sustained and developed through everyday practices. It is also similar to routine HIS data collection, and thus seems fairly straightforward to integrate in existing HIS. Response, on the other hand, is both more complex and less sustained in everyday practice due to low frequency and unpredictability of outbreaks. Providing electronic support for IDSR should focus on maintaining a link between surveillance and response, but it would require an IS design flexible enough to also accommodate for situations that are yet unknown.


Disease surveillance and response IDSR HIS Practice theory 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

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