Tuesday, March 21, 2023
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

"Epidemiological Basics in Integration of respiratory virus surveillance" was a three-part webinar organized by PAHO and conducted by experts in Preventative Medicine and Public Health. The webinar was divided across three days (21, 22, and 23 March of 2023), and the presentations ran for 50 minutes each.

This webinar comes from the need to study the integration of respiratory virus surveillance because the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has brought about changes in the way respiratory virus surveillance is conducted. The latest recommendations encourage grouping the surveillance of the different respiratory viruses in an integrated system. These changes involve modifications to the existing guidelines, affecting both the information generated and some processes. Now is therefore a suitable time to revisit the respiratory virus surveillance system including its objectives, strategy, and structure with all professionals who can benefit from the information generated by the system. 

The participants were staff in charge or representatives working in the following areas: epidemiology, respiratory viruses, or with patients and populations that could be affected by the virus; laboratory, clinicians, information systems, health promotion, immunizations, administrators, community health, communication and environment unit, health.

Objective(s) of the meeting: 

Present an epidemiological overview of the objectives, strategy, and structure of an integrated surveillance system for respiratory viruses; provide the tools to analyze the current system at the country level; and foster collaboration among countries. 

Brief synthesis of the topics: 

 - Agenda day 1: Overview and uses of the information generated by the surveillance system;

 - Agenda day 2: Surveillance strategies and information interpretation;

-  Agenda day 3: Surveillance system structure and information flow.

Speakers. Brief summary of the curriculum: 
  • Anna Llupià is a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, has a degree in Medicine (University of Barcelona), a master’s degree in public health (Pompeu Fabra University) and a PhD in Health Promotion (University of Barcelona).  She has worked in the areas of quality and clinical safety in maternal and neonatal care at hospital level and vaccines. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, she worked with the public health bodies of Catalonia in pandemic management, informatization of epidemiological surveillance structures and contact tracing studies. She has published articles on vaccines, surveillance and control of infections, shared decisions, and health promotion. She is currently working as a consultant at the Pan American Health Organization, in the influenza and other respiratory virus team, providing support to the Caribbean area.
  • Iyanna Wellington is a medical doctor with graduate training in epidemiology, health management, and history. She worked at all levels of public health services in Jamaica for almost 20 years (19 to be exact - hospital, health centre, regional, and national levels). She headed Jamaica's communicable surveillance system for 7 years before starting a career with the  UN.  Her role on the Flu Team is to provide support for updating respiratory surveillance guidelines and plans with a focus on the integration of surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses, and also pandemic preparedness.
Epidemiological basics, respiratory virus, surveillance in 2023
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