CDC Sierra Leone Completes Ebola Data Handover to Ministry of Health and Sanitation
In a sign of the progress made since the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic gripped Sierra Leone, the CDC Sierra Leone Country Office recently completed formal transfer of CDC Ebola outbreak data to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS). The dataset, which includes national Epi Info Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) and laboratory information, helped put an end to the epidemic by giving decision makers the tools they needed to focus efforts and resources. The VHF dataset was the official repository of Ebola case information during the outbreak in Sierra Leone and was relied upon by thousands of Ebola responders.
CDC staff at headquarters and in-country worked to get ready for the handover, including spending hours cleaning data, preparing data dictionaries, and developing support materials that explain how to use and store files while maintaining information security. CDC staff will continue to collaborate with the Sierra Leone MoHS, using VHF and lab data for future research and scholarly publications to gain knowledge about how to better respond to Ebola and similar outbreaks. In addition to the Ebola data handover, in-country technical assistance and headquarter support, data management, and epidemiological training are all helping to build workforce capacity for data integration, analysis, and use across all levels of the country’s health surveillance system. These activities also bolster Global Health Security Agenda efforts in Sierra Leone because timely, complete, and accurate data are key to early detection and rapid response to public health threats.