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  • Writer's pictureChanné Suy Lan

Strengthening Event-Based Surveillance for Human and Animal Health in Cambodia

Introduction:

Enhancing zoonotic disease surveillance in Cambodia necessitates the development of a robust digital Event Management System. Currently, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP) and Cambodia CDC (CCDC) lack a digital system and aim to improve their Outbreak Event Management. Our project's goal is to support GDAHP and CDC in building and strengthening a digital EMS system that will serve as a vital data source for future zoonotic disease surveillance efforts.




Transitioning to Digital Efficiency:

Recognizing the need for a more streamlined approach to outbreak detection and response, CCDC and GDAHP have made significant progress by implementing the Cambodia Event Monitoring System (Cam EMS). This effective digital solution replaces outdated paper-based systems and non-system monitoring and recording of outbreak events. Cam EMS enhances collaboration and data sharing between CCDC and GDAHP, ensuring seamless communication. By incorporating milestone and timeliness metrics, the system enables evidence-based decision-making in disease surveillance. Moreover, the integration of media monitoring allows for the efficient capture of essential information, further enhancing the system's capabilities.


Key Features of Cam EMS:

Cam EMS serves as an efficient outbreak event management tracking system, empowering both the human and animal health sectors to promptly capture and visualize crucial outbreak details. The system's design allows for scalability, ensuring flexibility in parameters, milestones, and workflows across different institutions. This design perspective aligns with the One Health approach, facilitating seamless data sharing between institutions and fostering collaboration. By starting with the readiness of human and animal health partners, Cam EMS establishes a solid foundation for comprehensive disease surveillance and response efforts.


Cam EMS provides a shared platform for seamless data recording, sharing, and tracking throughout the outbreak management process. The system incorporates milestones and timeliness metrics, enabling CCDC and GDAHP to effectively monitor performance. Through its intuitive dashboard, Cam EMS presents essential statistics, maps, and outbreak disease information.





Rollout and Collaboration:

Both CCDC and GDAHP have successfully rolled out the Cam EMS system at the sub-national (provincial) level nationwide. Training sessions were conducted for provincial officers to ensure their proficiency in using the system to record outbreak events in their respective communities. Cam EMS has gained recognition as a platform supporting disease surveillance monitoring and tracking. This collaborative effort promotes the sharing of events related to infectious diseases between the two sectors, embracing the One Health approach and acknowledging the interconnectedness of human and animal health.


Overcoming Challenges:

Despite facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of Cam EMS has demonstrated resilience and adaptability. Online training sessions were successfully conducted, followed by in-person training when COVID-19 subsided. The project received strong support from the leadership of GDAHP and CCDC, highlighting the commitment of all stakeholders involved in advancing health surveillance even in challenging times.


Ensuring Timely Response:

To address the lack of resources at the sub-national level, the Outbreak Verification Fund was introduced alongside Cam EMS. This fund expedites access to funds for verification and response activities during outbreaks. By adhering to streamlined processes, the fund disburses necessary resources within 24 hours upon meeting the required criteria.


Results:

The training and rollout of Cam EMS commenced at the national and sub-national (provincial) levels. This comprehensive implementation strategy ensured widespread adoption of the system, enabling efficient outbreak management across Cambodia. To address the lack of resources at the sub-national level for outbreak verification, the Verification Fund package was introduced. This valuable initiative has provided much-needed assistance and resources to facilitate prompt verification and response activities, effectively minimizing delays in outbreak investigations.


Since the implementation of Cam EMS until April 2023, a total of 297 outbreak events in Cambodia have been successfully verified, recorded, and tracked on the system. This achievement demonstrates the effectiveness and reliability of Cam EMS in supporting disease surveillance efforts.


In the spirit of collaboration, CCDC shares any event related to eight infectious diseases on Cam EMS, including H5N1, H7N9, Flu cluster, Rabies, Influenza, Diphtheria, Trichinosis, and Pufferfish. Similarly, GDAHP actively shares events related to Rabies, H9N2, H5N1, Leptospirosis, and Anthrax with CCDC on the Cam EMS platform. This seamless sharing of information between the two agencies enhances coordination and fosters a comprehensive approach to disease surveillance.


Conclusion and Way Forward:

Cambodia's progress in health surveillance with Cam EMS showcases the solid work of CCDC, GDAHP, and other stakeholders. This impactful system has paved the way for improved outbreak detection, monitoring, and response, ultimately enhancing public health in Cambodia. Through collaborative efforts and the integration of digital solutions, Cambodia is strengthening its capacity to effectively address and mitigate the risks associated with zoonotic diseases.


Post the project pilot, CCDC and GDAHP have seamlessly integrated the use of Cam EMS into their routine operations for monitoring outbreak events within the community. This successful adoption of the system reflects its effectiveness and value in supporting disease surveillance efforts. Looking ahead, we envision a future where Cam EMS can further expand its capabilities through collaboration with like-minded partners. One such exciting prospect is the potential inclusion of Environmental surveillance, which would mark the next chapter in Cambodia's journey towards achieving the One Health goal. By embracing new opportunities and fostering partnerships, Cam EMS has the potential to play a vital role in advancing public health and disease prevention in Cambodia.

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