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Optimizing participatory disease surveillance sensitivity by Integrating active reporting and screening in traditional markets in Africa.

Traditional Market based mobile technology Surveillance in Africa

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Title : Optimizing participatory disease surveillance sensitivity by Integrating active reporting and screening in traditional markets in Africa.

Acronym: TMASIA

Traditional Market based mobile technology Surveillance in Africa

Project Scope


This project aims to increase the sensitivity and speed of early outbreak detection in African rural communities by engaging the masses of local communities who routinely attend traditional market  places to actively report disease outbreaks. Establish a traditional market place based surveillance system.



  1. Establish a traditional market mobile phone reporting system linked directly with the district integrated disease surveillance system
  2. Conduct screening of animals and humans in the original location of a case or positive signal
  3. Map risk areas for disease transmission like mosquito breeding sites and use these for periodic screening of sampled mosquitos
  4. ? Identify potential pathogen reservoirs and map animal to human potential spill overs (bats)

5. Rationale:

Effective regional and national preparedness and response to highly pathogenic infectious diseases like the Ebola Virus, Zika virus and other hemorrhagic fevers require strong political commitment, having in place a good coordinated surveillance system, and capacities at all levels for early detection, timely response and effective communication strategy.  Disease intelligence penetrating into communities and reaching the hard to reach places is necessary to detect the unexpected. Experience from the West African Ebola outbreak is that there is a long delay in response and policy decision reaction time due to weak capacity to capture the very early signals of an outbreak. The current disease surveillance system catchment is limited to formal health facility levels and does not penetrate effectively the community fabrics hence leaving out cases that prefer attending traditional practitioners and community elders (leaders). This project  will extend and broaden human and animal disease surveillance beyond the health facility improving the  systems by increasing the probability of early detection of outbreak signals before cases attend a health facility (always late stage). It will improve data comprehensiveness by capturing cases that would never have attended a health facility due to preference of seeking help from traditional healers. Indeed in Africa, some conditions may never be reported to orthodox health facilities because they are believed to be from supernatural powers that can only be overcome through traditional rituals. Market attenders from far to reach places will inform on mosquito breeding sites which will be mapped and visited for mosquito sampling.

Traditional animal markets in pastoral communities and other traditional markets in Africa, are powerful social and commercial gathering places that  provide access to all pastoral populations regardless of their remoteness and hard to reach physical location.  These markets have no age and gender barriers (popular social gatherings) attracting men and women of all age and social groups. They are the epi-center origin of all local rumors and act as powerful community lance capturing the whole community picture.

The project will also address the problem of poor understanding of hygiene and its relation to local customs and habits in pastoral communities. It will identify community social and economic drivers of infectious disease transmission and reveal which customs and behaviors hinder reporting. This will help the development of strategies to improve participatory surveillance.

Partner institutions:

  1. Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) Tanzania  (Prof. Rudovic Kazwala, Prof Esron Karimuribo)
  2. National Institute for Medical Research Tanzania (Dr. Sayoki Mfinanga, Dr. Esther Ngadaya)
  3. Public Health and Environment Advancement Interventions (NGALAKERI) NGO (Dr. Andrew Kitua, Dr Stephen Mduma and Dr Charles Makasi)
  4. East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network (EAIDSNet) (Dr. Janneth Mghamba, Dr. Peter Mmbuji and Dr. Fausta Shao)
  5. District Integrated Disease surveillance teams 


Do you plan to apply for USAID’s Grand Challenge for funding?

  • Yes
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Team (2)

Anushka's profile
Anushka Agarwal

Role added on team:

"Anushka contributed to making me aware of the challenge through contact with Jennifer Olson of Skoll Global Threats Fund. I have been working with Jennifer to increase the sensitivity of current disease surveillance systems in Africa applying a Mobile technology tool developed by Prof. Esron Karimuribo through funding by Skoll Global Threats Fund. Very dynamic and innovative thinking team!!"

Andrew's profile

1 comment

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