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Disease Surveillance and Response Unit |04 May 2020

Disease Surveillance and Response Unit

Ms Rath (left) and Ms Bonne (Photo: Jude Morel)

Anita Bonne, Chantal Rath talk about their work during the COVID-19 pandemic


Following our article published on Thursday April 30, 2020, we continue with our visit at the Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (DSRU) of the Seychelles Hospital where we meet two dynamic ladies – Anita Bonne and Chantal Rath, both trained in Field Epidemiology.

The main roles and responsibilities of the DSRU are to monitor the trend of communicable and non-communicable diseases, verify health related rumours and unusual public health events in Seychelles. It functions mainly under the guidance of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response guidelines of the WHO-AFRO and CDC. In the event that there are unusual increases of diseases or the emergence of an epidemic prone diseases, an outbreak investigation is conducted. A descriptive and analytical analysis of data collected follows.

“Health facilities provide surveillance data and they are required to comply with disease notification and reporting to DSRU. We also work in close collaboration with Public Health Services for intervention and public health laboratory/clinical laboratory for data sharing,” explained Ms Bonne.

How did DSRU operate during COVID-19?

DSRU coordinated the linkage between Rapid Response, contact tracing and disease surveillance. “After COVID-19 confirmed cases were notified, a case base reporting was conducted. Jointly with the Rapid Response coordination team contacts of cases were identified with the aim of disease containment. The lists of contacts were handed over to the contact tracing team for tracing and 14 days daily follow up. Symptomatic contacts were documented and reverted back to the Rapid Response team for action. Data for contact follow up were analysed and aggregated data were reported daily to the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre,” explained Ms Bonne.

Ms Rath added that daily line listing of cases from isolation centre, contacts from quarantine facilities and home isolation were compiled for further analysis.

“We were linked with one 141 operator for any issues concerning contact follow up from the general public. It was essential to monitor the social media for any rumours or unusual events in the community as part of the surveillance activities,” she noted.

The DSRU comprises Dr Jastin Bibi, Anita Bonne, Chantal Rath based on Mahé and Jeanine Decomarmond on Praslin and they are all contributing in the roles and responsibilities of the DSRU. The general public is advised to contact the DSRU hotlines on 2606000 or 2606001 for any alert of suspected cases or unusual health events in the community especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Vidya Gappy

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