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Public Health Data Rescue in the Mekong

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The Vaccine Modeling Initiative (VMI) has developed collaborations with countries in the Southeast Asia Mekong region including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Through a partnership with Institut of Research for Development (IRD) in France, a dengue surveillance data digitization field project has been started in Laos. Disaggregated dengue surveillance data will be digitized from district and provincial health departments in Laos. Students from the Institut for Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Laos are visiting Provincial and District Health Departments and health clinics to scan and digitize (rescue) dengue surveillance data in two pilot provinces.

On May 23, Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, a VMI investigator, and Dr. Marc Choisy from IRD, visited the Vientiane Capital Health Office to start planning dengue surveillance data collection and digitization. The Vientiane Capital Region includes nine district health centers and six central hospitals that serve a total population of about 800,000 people. This region reports the most dengue cases annually and is of great importance to this project. Institut Francophone pour la Medicine Tropicale (IFMT) students will arrive in June to start data collection.

A team from the University of Pittsburgh, IRD and IFMT and the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos , recently visited Savannakhet province to assess progress on dengue surveillance data collection. During this two day visit, the provincial health department, the provincial malaria station and provincial hospital were visited to review dengue surveillance documentation. In addition, two districts and two health centers were visited.

A Laos field blog (https://www.vaccinemodeling.org/index.php/laos-field-blog) has been started to follow this digitization project that is being conducted by students in collaboration with the Laos Ministry of Health.

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