Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Objectives: Integrated disease surveillance (IDS) offers the potential for better use of surveillance data to guide responses to public health threats. However, the extent of IDS implementation worldwide is unknown. This study sought to understand how IDS is operationalized, identify implementation challenges and barriers, and identify opportunities for development.
Study design: Synthesis of qualitative studies undertaken in seven countries.
Methods: Thirty-four focus group discussions and 48 key informant interviews were undertaken in Pakistan, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda, Sweden, Canada, and England, with data collection led by the respective national public health institutes. Data were thematically analysed using a conceptual framework that covered governance, system and structure, core functions, finance and resourcing requirements. Emerging themes were then synthesised across countries for comparisons.
Results: None of the countries studied had fully integrated surveillance systems. Surveillance was often fragmented, and the conceptualization of integration varied. Barriers and facilitators identified included: 1) the need for clarity of purpose to guide integration activities; 2) challenges arising from unclear or shared ownership; 3) incompatibility of existing IT systems and surveillance infrastructure; 4) workforce and skills requirements; 5) legal environment to facilitate data sharing between agencies; and 6) resourcing to drive integration. In countries dependent on external funding, the focus on single diseases limited integration and created parallel systems.
Conclusions: A plurality of surveillance systems exists globally with varying levels of maturity. While development of an international framework and standards are urgently needed to guide integration efforts, these must be tailored to country contexts and guided by their overarching purpose.


Issue and pagination are not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Public Health