Nivārana: Converting information to action in communicable disease surveillance

This paper describes the need and proposed architecture for a communicable disease surveillance, analysis and alerting system, “Nivārana”, for the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. The Epidemiology Unit (EU) is the principal governmental organization responsible for disease surveillance in Sri Lanka and possesses a wealth of disease related data collected over a period of several decades. The Unit continuously monitors the occurrence of communicable diseases in the country and implements prevention and control programmes for a multitude of diseases. Since early recognition of impending outbreaks followed by rapid response is the mainstay of controlling a communicable disease in a community, acquiring the ability for; collection of complete data island wide in a timely manner, collation and analysis of such data, timely dissemination of analyzed data as well as guidelines on appropriate interventions, will no doubt strengthen the EU’s capacity to implement disease prevention and control activities more efficiently and effectively. Proposed software solution “Nivārana” aims to; 1) assists translation of information available through data collection, to action, and 2) minimize the time gap between data collection and action by the EU and the other preventive health care institutions, thereby minimizing the disease spread and subsequent burden.