Over 350 public health surveillance professionals from six continents converged in Denver, for the 14th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS). Carrying the theme ‘Harnessing Data to Advance Health Equity’, the meeting highlights the importance of using data and new analytic methodologies to promote health equity worldwide.
The three-day event was designed to build individual and organizational capacity for public health surveillance both locally to globally. The meeting convened a multidisciplinary group of professionals from public health agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
“The ISDS Conference aims to address the challenges confronting public health surveillance efforts by fostering collaborations and information sharing across sectors” says ISDS President and Board Chair, Amy Ising, who added, “In order to advance the science of human and animal health surveillance, we must provide opportunities for professionals from across the globe to share their strategies, experiences and subject matter expertise.”
Representatives from over 25 countries were in Denver, including eight surveillance professionals from low-resource nations who were awarded travel grants from the Skoll Global Threats Fund. These representatives from Cuba, Rwanda, Kenya, India, and Georgia presented One Health case studies that demonstrate successful approaches to the integration of human, animal, and environmental surveillance.
The annual conference also witnessed the official release of a book titled ‘Transforming Public Health Surveillance’ by Elsevier publications. This book led by Prof. Scott JN McNabb, from Emory University is a collaborative project of 32 teams of global public health surveillance experts, including 3 teams from Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
The book offers an overview of novel approaches to public health surveillance to propel public health practice to 21st century solutions in order to tackle constantly emerging and re-emerging health threats.
Dr. Vivek Singh, an Associate Professor at PHFI and ISDS Vice-President, and an editor and author of the book, said “Public health surveillance is a core function of public health systems and countries need to invest in health surveillance and information systems in order to facilitate health security and health equity, locally, nationally and globally”