Introduction to Surveillance
Authors: Dr. Paul Jarvis, University of Manchester and Dr. Alex Keenan, Health Protection Agency
The World Health Organisation defines public health surveillance as “the continuous, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data needed for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice.” In the UK the Health Protection Agency (HPA) monitors our public health by identifying and responding to health emergencies caused by disease, chemicals, etc.; and providing data and information to government to inform decision making. In 2013 the HPA will be incorporated into the Public Health England.
The video below presents a short, but comprehensive introduction to surveillance. Paul is a post-doctoral researcher and as part of his works provides software to aid in public health surveillance.
In addition, the introduction to epidemiology, given by Dr. Alex Keenan from the HPA, covers why surveillance is important; what systems there are in place; and why data quality is crucial. The slides from the talk are shown here: