Zambia National Public Health Institute, Ministry of health/verbal Autopsy, Institute for Health Measurement Southern Africa (IHM) and Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship on Monday the 23 rd of October 2023 commenced a 5-day meeting discussing the development of a costed plan for ICT use within proposed SRS (Sample Registration System) with linkage to CRVS (Civil Registration to vital statistic) and HMIS (Health Management Information System) and the development of a costed plan for the use of the national data warehouse to aggregate mortality data from multiple sources.
Mortality surveillance is the systematic and ongoing process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data related to deaths The primary goal of mortality surveillance is to track and understand patterns and trends in mortality (death) rates, causes of death, and other relevant information, such as demographics and risk factors. This information is valuable for public health and healthcare planning, epidemiological research, and policy development.
ZNPHI is implementing the Mortality Surveillance project to develop a costed action plan for mortality surveillance in Zambia with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In his welcoming remarks the Director General of ZNPHI- Professor Roma Chilengi highlighted that knowing when people are born, when they die and what they are dying from can influence public health interventions and help to influence public policy and what issues we need to focus on thus also understanding the threats. He also echoed the need to design good information systems that will help us come up with mitigations and make sure information is collected at all levels.
During her remarks Dr Muzala Kapina, the Director of Surveillance and Disease Intelligence highlighted how surveillance needs to investigate ICT systems and how we can leverage ICT to find long lasting solutions that are user friendly and bring help. She later added that the system should be able to speak to diverse end users.
The Mortality Surveillance Coordinator for ZNPHI Dr Stephen Longa Chanda highlighted the plans for strengthening mortality surveillance in Zambia by giving an overview of the Sample Bases Registration, the current challenges, and plans for strengthening mortality surveillance in Zambia with emphasis on digital technology.
The meeting also included presentations for MOH-VA (Ministry of Health -Verbal Autopsy), IHM (Institute for Health Measurement Southern Africa), DNRPC (Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship) and CIDRZ (Center for infectious disease where an overview of (System architecture, overall design, hardware and software, data backup and recovery and security) and a demonstration of their current ICT systems and how they are operating.
Mortality surveillance is crucial for assessing and safeguarding public health. By systematically collecting and analyzing data on deaths within Zambia, it enables the early detection of health threats, such as disease outbreaks or emerging conditions, while also guiding the allocation of healthcare resources, informing evidence-based policy decisions, evaluating the impact of interventions, supporting research to understand disease patterns, and ultimately working towards the reduction of preventable deaths and the improvement of overall population health.