Evaluation of national event-based surveillance, nigeria, 2016-2018

Kazim Beebeejaun*, James Elston, Isabel Oliver, Adachioma Ihueze, Chika Ukenedo, Olusola Aruna, Favour Makava, Ejezie Obiefuna, Womi Eteng, Mercy Niyang, Ebere Okereke, Bola Gobir, Elsie Ilori, Olubunmi Ojo, Chikwe Ihekweazu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Nigeria Centres for Disease Control and Prevention established an event-based surveillance (EBS) system in 2016 to supplement traditional surveillance structures. The EBS system is comprised of an internet-based data mining tool and a call center. To evaluate the EBS system for usefulness, simplicity, acceptability, timeliness, and data quality, we performed a descriptive analysis of signals received during September 2017-June 2018. We used questionnaires, semistructured interviews, and direct observation to collect information from EBS staff. Amongst 43,631 raw signals detected, 138 (0.3%) were escalated; 63 (46%) of those were verified as events, including 25 Lassa fever outbreaks and 13 cholera outbreaks. Interviewees provided multiple examples of earlier outbreak detections but suggested notifications and logging could be improved to ensure action. EBS proved effective in detecting outbreaks, but we noted clear opportunities for efficiency gains. We recommend improving signal logging, standardizing processes, and revising outputs to ensure appropriate public health action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-702
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Nigeria Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) introduced EBS in 2016. NCDC EBS was supported by the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) through a grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The aim of the EBS is to rapidly collect and organize information about signals and trigger public health action by NCDC and its partners. Nigeria’s EBS system uses data actively mined from internet sources by Tatafo, a software platform developed by UMB for NCDC; data collected from incoming calls from the public and healthcare professionals at NCDC’s Connect Centre; and information collected by systematic and ad hoc searches of social media, blogs, health tracking websites, and the news media.

Funding Information:
While a valued asset, implementation and maintenance of the NCDC EBS system required funding and investments in resources, including software systems, staff, training materials. At the time of our evaluation the EBS was supported by funds from UMB and financial and personnel investments should be relevant considerations for other countries looking to adopt national EBS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.


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