A web-based surveillance system has been introduced in the country to track the potentially fatal, parasitic disease kala-azar, also known as visceral leishmaniasis (VL).
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) with technical support from icddr,b has introduced the web-based kala-azar surveillance system.
The online platform, which was jointly developed by programmers from icddr,b and German international development company GIZ, will improve the existing VL disease surveillance and reporting system by reducing transmission control response time, automatically identifying patients who have been lost to follow up and providing health authorities with a better understanding of the disease burden in Bangladesh.icddr,b helped develop the web based system, which contains clinical information about kala-azar patients and can be accessed anywhere by registered users, according to an icddr,b web post.
Until now, the kala-azar disease surveillance system was paper-based: the documents were signed at the local sub-district health complex, sent by post to the district-level statisticians and then mailed to the national level authorities.
“This web-based surveillance will increase the effectiveness of existing kala-azar elimination strategies,” says M. Mamun Huda, the co-principal investigator of the project and assistant scientist with the Centre for Population, Urbanisation and Climate Change.
“So long the CDC used to send a team for house to house screening for further VL and post kala-azar dermal leishamaniasis cases, with or without indoor residual spraying and larvicide, around the house of a recently reported VL case,” he said. “This system has worked well to control the transmission of kala-azar so far, but now the CDC will be able to mobilize their resources even more quickly.”
Kala-azar is found in parts of Asia, Africa and South America. According to WHO, around 200,000 to 400,000 new cases of VL occur worldwide each year. About 60% of the cases occur in the Indian subcontinent where 186 million people are at risk. The disease burden is highest in India, followed by Bangladesh and Nepal.- UNB