Piloting a web based rabies surveillance system in Lusaka and Kasama districts.

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Tembo, Grace
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The University of Zambia
Rabies is one of the most feared Zoonoses, nearly always resulting in fatal acute encephalitis. In humans, the incubation period of rabies is highly variable, ranging from days to years, with an average of 2–3 months. At the moment, rabies is underreported in humans at a rate of 1:60, and this rate may even be much higher for animal rabies incidence. There is huge potential for mobile technologies to improve health care and public health service delivery especially in resource-poor settings. Utilization of mobile phones and ICT technologies to improve disease surveillance in public and animal health has been reported in other countries, including China, Madagascar, Uganda, and Kenya. The cross-sectional study was applied with a sample size of thirty-six (36) veterinary clinics and districts health offices. The study was carried out in three stages; (i) evaluation of the surveillance tool before piloted; (ii) Piloting the tool; and (iii) assessing tool’s effectiveness in rabies surveillance after being piloted. The study used semi-structured questionnaires to assess the effectiveness of the tool in rabies surveillance. Quantitative data was coded, manually processed, entered and analyzed using computer software SPSS version 16. Most respondents 50% (18/36) indicated that the tool was easy to use and 55.6%, (20/36) indicated that the tool was very important in rabies surveillance. Of the 32 respondents, 21 (65.6%) of them Agreed that the tool facilitated timely reporting and 53.1% (17/32) agreed that the surveillance tool facilitated completeness of reporting, most respondents 50% (18/36) agreed that reporting using this surveillance tool can be a cheaper way of notifying an outbreak. The Tool was also assessed for data quality improvement and most of the participants, 47% (17/32) agreed that the tool can help improve data quality. The study looked at piloting the rabies surveillance system and the design of the system promotes the integration of Public Health and Animal Health Surveillance. The study deduced that the tool was easy to operate, facilitated timely and completeness of reporting, was cost effective and improved data quality. As a result, it has great potential for use as a highly effective tool in rabies surveillance. Implementation of low cost mobile technology in rabies surveillance which can be used offline and without a smart phone in order for surveillance to be cost effective.
Thesis of Master of Science in Tropical Infectious Diseases and Zoonosis.