Strong health surveillance systems are essential for governments to identify the source of infection and suppress transmission of COVID-19 and its variants. Digital solutions, data monitoring and community-based alert systems all play a part in stopping the spread of the virus. These tools can ensure that all cases are promptly and effectively diagnosed, isolated and receive appropriate information and care, and that the close contacts of all cases are rapidly identified so that they can be quarantined and medically monitored for symptoms.
In low income and humanitarian settings, this means scaling up and strengthening testing capacities. WHOF works to strengthen national and subnational surveillance systems by training teams to conduct monitoring and analyse trends. WHO provides leadership and coordination in how surveillance programmes are designed and implemented throughout the world, via: disease surveillance guidelines and case definitions; trainings to improve surveillance and response; and provision of necessary equipment and supplies.
WHO also supports countries to evaluate the proportion of the population that remains at the highest risk, transmission patterns, immunity in the population, clinical severity, and risk factors for infection. These continuous efforts are vital for addressing the ongoing pandemic and the emergence of variants of concern while preparing and strengthening health systems for future events.