The IDSR Disease Surveillance System in Kenya

by | Oct 22, 2016 | My Write Ups, Surveillance

Communicable diseases remain the leading cause of morbidity, mortality and disability in African communities. While much progress has been made in the last decade towards improving national and regional capacity for effective surveillance and response, communicable disease such as cholera, viral hemorrhagic fevers, yellow fever, influenza, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis remain high priorities for national public health programs owing to their public health significance. Conditions and events such as malnutrition and maternal deaths are also critical targets for national public health programs. Additionally, non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are gaining prominence.

To address the challenges of disease surveillance and response, the 48th World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, adopted resolution AFRO/RC48/R2 in September 1998. The strategy is called Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) [1]. The goal of IDSR is to improve the ability of all levels of the system to detect, confirm, and respond to diseases and other public health events in order to reduce high levels of illness, death and disability. In addition, the International Health Regulations (IHR) was adopted on 23 May 2005 by the fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland through Resolution WHA 58.3 [2]. IHR is a legally binding instrument designed to help protect all States from the international spread of disease. Most importantly, IHR calls for strengthening national core capacities for surveillance and response throughout national health systems [3].

After adoption of the IDSR strategy by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2006, Kenya now has a total of 36 reportable priority diseases categorized as epidemic prone diseases, diseases targeted for eradication/elimination, disease of public health importance and public health events for internal concern (IHR 2005). These priority diseases have different reporting requirements and timelines and thresholds are stipulated in the IDSR technical guidelines. IDSR promotes the rational use of resources for collection, analysis and interpretation of health data and dissemination of the resulting information to those who need them for public health action.

Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) Data Flow 


The next article will elaborate further on the, “Reporting Systems for Disease Surveillance in Kenya” stay tuned 🙂


[1] Division of Disease Surveillance an Response (DDSR). IDSR STrategy. Available from:

[2] World Health Organisation, International Health Regulations (2005), 2008.

[3] Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response in Kenya: Technical Guidelines 2012, 2012

Primary source

Rachel Wanjiru, Ian Njeru, mSOS/DST Weekly Mobile Reporing Stakeholders, John Gichangi, David Kareko, Annastacia Muange, Sophia Karanja, Ngina Kisangau, Boniface Waweru, Raphael Pundo, Oliver Munyao, Steve Waweru, Daniel Langat, Lyndah Makayotto, Mitsuru Toda (2016) mSOS/IDSR Weekely Mobile Reporting: Training Manual, Ministry of Health Kenya, Nairobi


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Dr. Kelvin Momanyi

Dr. Kelvin Momanyi

I am a Veterinarian & a part time web designer. My current research is focused on the evidence-based added value & evaluation of One Health.

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