On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing 4230 000 persons and placing an estimated 1.5 million into internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. IDPs are at increased risk for communicable diseases resulting from unhealthy living conditions. The Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) established the internally displaced persons surveillance system (IDPSS) to detect outbreaks and characterize disease trends within these camps.
IDPSS gathers data on IDPs seen in clinics run by nongovernmental agencies (NGOs). Physician tally sheets are totaled and sent to the MSPP by E-mail or on paper for those without internet connection. Each Monday, analyses of surveillance data through the preceding week are distributed. Reports, guidelines, and forms are sent to MSPP partners and NGOs through the system’s Google group (Mountain View, CA, USA), an internet-based discussion forum.
We evaluated the IDPSS to determine its suitability for use during a complex humanitarian emergency.