Improving detection and response to respiratory events - Kenya, April 2016-April 2020

Osatohamwen I Idubor, Miwako Kobayashi, Linus Ndegwa, Mary Okeyo, Tura Galgalo, Rosalia Kalani, Susan Githii, Elizabeth Hunsperger, Arunmozhi Balajee, Jennifer R Verani, Maria da Gloria Carvalho, Jonas Winchell, Chris A Van Beneden, Marc-Alain Widdowson, Lyndah Makayotto, Sandra S Chaves

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Respiratory pathogens, such as novel influenza A viruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and now, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), are of particular concern because of their high transmissibility and history of global spread (1). Clusters of severe respiratory disease are challenging to investigate, especially in resource-limited settings, and disease etiology often is not well understood. In 2014, endorsed by the Group of Seven (G7),* the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was established to help build country capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.† GHSA is a multinational, multisectoral collaboration to support countries towards full implementation of the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations (IHR).§ Initially, 11 technical areas for collaborator participation were identified to meet GHSA goals. CDC developed the Detection and Response to Respiratory Events (DaRRE) strategy in 2014 to enhance country capacity to identify and control respiratory disease outbreaks. DaRRE initiatives support the four of 11 GHSA technical areas that CDC focuses on: surveillance, laboratory capacity, emergency operations, and workforce development.¶ In 2016, Kenya was selected to pilot DaRRE because of its existing respiratory disease surveillance and laboratory platforms and well-developed Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) (2). During 2016-2020, Kenya's DaRRE partners (CDC, the Kenya Ministry of Health [MoH], and Kenya's county public health officials) conceptualized, planned, and implemented key components of DaRRE. Activities were selected based on existing capacity and determined by the Kenya MoH and included 1) expansion of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) surveillance sites; 2) piloting of community event-based surveillance; 3) expansion of laboratory diagnostic capacity; 4) training of public health practitioners in detection, investigation, and response to respiratory threats; and 5) improvement of response capacity by the national emergency operations center (EOC). Progress on DaRRE activity implementation was assessed throughout the process. This pilot in Kenya demonstrated that DaRRE can support IHR requirements and can capitalize on a country's existing resources by tailoring tools to improve public health preparedness based on countries' needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)540-544
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Capacity Building
  • Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Kenya/epidemiology
  • Mass Screening/organization & administration
  • Pilot Projects
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases/diagnosis


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