Introduction to Performance Indicators for Assessing National Epidemio-Surveillance Systems

Dr. Franis F. Sudi
Veterinary Epidemiologist


Epidemiological surveillance is defined as a systematic and continuous collection, analysis and interpretation of animal health data and associated factors aiming at the disease control of animal disease diseases.

Epidemio surveillance is an important tool for generating information useful for developing animal disease control strategies and evaluating disease control measures.

It is important to note that animal diseases important in one country may not be important in other countries as a result Epidemio – Surveillance Systems (ESS) differ in objectives and methodology from one country to another.

The most important requirement of the ESS is its capacity to provide accurate animal health data/information.

A functional ESS is characterized by rapid detection and intervention of disease outbreaks.

Therefore it is very important to monitor the network to ensure that its capacity to carry out its activities is not compromised by any factor.

For this reason it is very important to ensure that performance indicators of the ESS are known to participating agents so that to stimulate their maximum commitment.

When some indicators do not reach the required threshold (satisfactory level) other activities of the ESS may be affected. The solution is to study step by step what could contribute to a change of the threshold.

It is for this reasons that we need to understand PI of ESS.

The understanding the PI of ESS will help to notice its deterioration and institution of corrective measures to address the poor performance. Generally speaking, these indicators are parameters that provide assurance that:

· Case/ outbreaks are detected in a timely manner (Sensitivity)

· Case/ outbreaks are investigated in a timely manner (timelines)

· Case/ outbreaks are confirmed accurately (Specificity)

In Jan 2003 Pakistan declared herself provisionally freedom from Rinderpest. The next stage is to provide verifiable evidence of absence of Rinderpest disease and ultimately Rinderpest infection in Pakistan.

To attain this status Pakistan will be required to apply to OIE for recognition from freedom from Rinderpest.

All application for freedom from diseases (TADs i.e. Rinderpest, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), contagious Bovine Pleuro pneumonia must be supported by documentary and scientifically based surveillance data indicating freedom from disease or infection.

The proof of freedom from disease or infection is possible when effective animal disease surveillance and reporting system exist in the country making application. Hence, it is important for the Veterinary Authorities to conduct regular self-assessment of the ESS to ensure that standards are maintained. The findings of PDS teams in different provinces have gathered very good information on Transboundry Animal Diseases (TADs) that is going to be very useful in the application for freedom from Rinderpest.

This presentation provide elementary guidelines to stimulate the assessment of the ESS in Pakistan in terms of capacity to detect, report, confirm and control animal disease outbreaks.

Performance indicators of ESS

The performance indicators of ESS are grouped into three groups shown hereunder:

  1. a) At National level:
Areas for assessment Indicators
1 Presence of a logical and adequate structure with clear reporting channels within and between the three major components of the ESS

i.    Federal Epidemiology Unit.

ii.   National Veterinary Lab. System

iii.  Field component


Functional Epidemiology Unit, which coordinates collection, storage, analysis and dissemination of animal health information.

i.Defined reporting and animal health information flow.

ii.Active animal disease reporting.

iii.Passive animal health reporting.

iv.Local and international animal health reports.

v.Animal disease investigation reports.

vi.Lab reports (Samples tested, Disease survey results.

vii.Geographical coverage of ESS.

viii.Training on animal disease recognition and reporting (at all levels of ESS)

ix.Feedback to all stakeholders of the ESS.


2. Objectives of ESS


List of priority diseases.

ii.Strategies to Control priority disease.

iii.Surveillance protocols for priority diseases

  • In domestic animals.
  • In wildlife

iv. Routine animal disease surveys (Prepared jointly with National Laboratory systems e.g. Brucellosis, TB etc)

v.Detected/diagnosed priority disease (Mapping of distribution of diseases).




Functional infrastructure for delivery of animal health services


Inventory of functional infrastructure delivering veterinary services (Veterinary hospitals, Animal Disease Investigation Centers etc).

ii.Inventory of personnel in the ESS (Strength of the ESS).

iii.Private Veterinary practices integration in ESS.

iv.Functional Veterinary check points/ Border post/Zoo sanitary check points/Mobile teams.




Coverage of the ESS


Availability and accessibility of Animal Health Services (Government Veterinary service)

ii.Distribution of Private veterinary services; Number of Private veterinary services integrated in the ESS.

iii.Communication: Capacity to report animal disease

iv.Data on spatial distribution of animal disease.

v.Number of animal health reports from the smallest units of the ESS.

vi.Active PDS teams.




Technical support to field teams



Training on basic epidemiology and disease control.

ii.Availability of animal disease reporting forms/ formats.

iii.Sampling equipment available to surveillance units / posts.




Data collection, analysis and interpretation


Number of reports received from the field.

ii.Number of reports received from the National Veterinary Laboratory System.

iii.Monthly animal health summary reports produced and disseminated to stakeholders.

iv.Reports submitted to DVS

v.Reports submitted to OIE

vi.Reports submitted to SAARC



  1. b) Indicators for National Veterinary Laboratory Systems (NVLS)
Areas for assessment Indicators
1 National Veterinary Laboratory System NVLS. Means to perform diagnosis of animal diseases under surveillance (infrastructure, equipments, diagnostic kits and reagents) – priority diseases)

ii.Sufficient trained personnel

iii.Lab manuals available or developed.

iv.Modern diagnostic test available (Including molecular diagnostic techniques – e.g. PCR at NVL.

v.Basic diagnostic tests at Disease Investigation Centers and Animal hospitals.

vi.Diagnostic summaries from NVL and Veterinary hospital, (Inferences made).


2 Training of Laboratory technicians.


·Refresher trainings of lab staff.

·Number of veterinary technicians trained in diagnostic techniques of priority diseases.


3 Samples received, tested / analyzed.


.Number of Samples received per years.

ii.Animal disease surveys carried out in a year.

iii.Number of samples referred to regional or international reference laboratories.

iv.Analysis or summary result submitted to the Epidemiology Unit.

v.Interpretation of analysis of lab findings



  1. c) Field level indicators of ESS
Areas for assessment Indicators
1 Field staff familiar with the disease control strategy including surveillance protocols.


Continuous training of field staff on animal disease control.

ii.Implementation of animal disease control / surveillance protocols for priority diseases.

iii.Number and quality of reports submitted by field staff.


2 Field staff are trained:

·Recognition of priority diseases

·Animal health data collection, recording and transmission.


.Training sessions of field staff in animal disease recognition, reporting and sample collection.

ii.Number of training session conducted and number of field staff and Private Veterinarians trained.

iii.Manuals, hand outs or posters on recognition of important animal disease.


3 Report submission to Provincial Epidemiology Unit.


Number of report submitted.

ii.Number of samples collected and submitted to Veterinary hospital, NVL.


4 Materials for data recording, storing and submission.


Availability of animal disease reporting forms.

ii.Number of reports coming from the field.