Emerging epidemics: is the Zanzibar healthcare system ready to detect and respond to mosquito-borne viral diseases?

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Effective control of emerging mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika requires, amongst other things, a functional healthcare system, ready and capable of timely detection and prompt response to incipient epidemics. We assessed the readiness of Zanzibar health facilities and districts for early detection and management of mosquito-borne viral disease outbreaks.

A cross-sectional study involving all 10 District Health Management Teams and 45 randomly selected public and private health facilities in Zanzibar was conducted using a mixed-methods approach including observations, document review, and structured interviews with health facility in-charges and District Health Management Team members.

The readiness of the Zanzibar healthcare system for timely detection, management, and control of dengue and other mosquito-borne viral disease outbreaks was critically low. The majority of health facilities and districts lacked the necessary requirements including standard guidelines, trained staff, real-time data capture, analysis and reporting systems, as well as laboratory diagnostic capacity. In addition, health education programmes for creating public awareness and Aedes mosquito surveillance and control activities were non-existent.

The Zanzibar healthcare system has limited readiness for management, and control of mosquito-borne viral diseases. In light of impending epidemics, the critical shortage of skilled human resource, lack of guidelines, lack of effective disease and vector surveillance and control measures as well as lack of laboratory capacity at all levels of health facilities require urgent attention across the Zanzibar archipelago.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Health Serv Res
Issue number866
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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