By Adewole Adekola & Uzoho Chukwuemeka E
The outbreak of various emerging/re-emerging infectious diseases (with notable example of the Lassa and Ebola outbreak) in West Africa has in recent years underscored the importance of case notification, contact tracing and follow-up consequent of appropriate data collection and surveillance. In the wake of this outbreak, the Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) was developed to meet this demand and facilitate efficient, timely and real-time digitized reporting of cases and response management. The significant improvement in the outbreak and routine disease surveillance associated with the use of SORMAS by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has played a vital role in the coordination of the emergency response and preparedness for various outbreaks in Nigeria.
Taking the holistic integration of laboratory and clinical epidemiological data reporting incorporated in the SORMAS platform further, a case management module has been integrated into the platform.
The SORMAS case management module is intended to enhance the robustness of the SORMAS platform as an important outbreak management tool. The collation of clinical case management data provided by this module as part of the recent rollout is intended to provide a central multi-institutional registry for outbreak case reporting and clinical case management. This module would potentially provide a sustainable and efficient central data system for data towards generating evidence for existing management practices, therapeutic guidelines, informing policies and development of novel contextualised outbreak interventions. This system, with the interrogation of the collated data, would also potentially serve as a basis for hypothesis generation to inform various clinical studies such as randomised clinical trials. The large sample size this database would potentially provide would also significantly increase the inferential power from the analysis making it suitable as a benchmarking aid for the justification of the effectiveness of existing practices.