( By A Study Guide (Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) )

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Lesson 3 - Setting up systems for the surveillance of communicable and selected noncommunicable diseases

Study Guide

This lesson presents the appropriate organization of surveillance systems. It discusses the surveillance of diseases in normal times, between disasters; reporting sources following disaster; diseases to include in the surveillance systems; the collection, interpretation and utilization of data; and central level feedback to field offices.

Learning Objectives

Recognize the appropriate organization of surveillance systems.
Identify diseases to include in a surveillance system.
Recognize the appropriate method for the collection, interpretation and utilization of data.
Recognize the importance of feedback to field workers.

Learning Activities

Read pages 23-39 in the manual.
Study, but do not memorize Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the manual.
Study, but do not memorize Annexes 1, 2, and 3 in the manual.


Complete the Self-Assessment Test.


Lesson 3 - Self Assessment Test

Multiple Choice

Circle the correct answer:

1. The primary responsibility to collate and interpret weekly totals from surveillance reports belongs to:

a. the epidemiologist
b. the family physician
c. reporting units
d. relief workers
e. none of the above

2. When communications and laboratory services are good, the communicable disease control officer learns of urgent problems through:

a. weekly report forms
b. telephone
c. laboratory
d. a and b
e. b and c

3. Under less urgent conditions or in long-term relief efforts, the reporting week should end on:

a. a weekend
b. Sunday
c. Friday
d. Monday
e. none of the above

4. Continued reporting of negative findings permits:

a. continued assessment of the number of reporting units
b. gathering information on the absence of a disease
c. seeing how well forms are completed
d. a and c
e. a and b


Indicate T or F:

____5. Before international relief workers select communicable diseases for surveillance and clinical criteria for case reporting, they should consult a national epidemiologist and the health relief coordinator of the affected country.

____6. Diagnostic criteria in laboratory work after disaster needs to be flexible.

____7. Indirect measures (i.e., school and industrial absenteeism) may be useful in the surveillance of certain diseases.

____8. Health providers who report for duty after disasters do not need to be informed about diagnostic criteria to be used.

____9. The guiding principle of reporting is to keep the number of diseases under surveillance and tabulation to an absolute minimum.

____10. The deadline for receipt of notifications after a disaster should be firm and immutable.

____11. Feedback to the field from the central office may be accomplished by providing weekly summaries.

____12. Very exotic and fatal, or uncommon diseases are not reported frequently to health authorities, while common communicable diseases are reported.

____13. Disease surveillance is essentially concerned with the gathering of information that is necessary for rational planning, operation and evaluation of activities.

Answer Key

1. c

8. F

2. e

9. T

3. c

10. T

4. e

11. T

5. T

12. F

6. T

13. T

7. T

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