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Welcome to the course

Watch Olakunle Alonge, Svea Closser, Anna Kalbarczyk, and Aditi Rao introduce the course "Collecting and Using Data for Disease Control" (Step 1.1)
ADITI RAO: The polio program is the most well-structured health program in our country says Oki. Oki is a biologist in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s national polio virus laboratory. He works to improve surveillance and data capture systems in the country.
SVEA CLOSSER: Oki comments when you consider the size of the country, there have been many obstacles to surveillance– distance, accessibility, insecurity, which do not allow activities to be carried out easily in certain corners.
ANNA KALBARCZYK: And sometimes samples, which must come from conflict zones, were blocked and hindered for political reasons. But with support from our government and partners, we have invested in hiring and training community volunteers, developed operating guidelines and sensitive data tools.
OLAKUNLE ALONGE: Today similar systems for tetanus, measles, monkeypox, yellow fever, Lassa fever, and cholera have been grafted onto the polio system in the DRC. We know the establishment and architecture of the polio surveillance program really helped to improve readiness for [INAUDIBLE] reduce response time, explains Oki.
ADITI RAO: To maintain polio eradication and control of other diseases, we must find every case and keep looking to make sure we are finding none. As a basic principle in order to stop disease, you have to know where it is.
SVEA CLOSSER: In the case of the effort to eradicate polio as cases begin to drop to single digits, detecting the virus wherever it persists has become more critical than ever. On the surface, this seems simple, but as we will explore through this course, it is mightily complex in practice.
OLAKUNLE ALONGE: Technical skills like data collection and data analysis are a big part of using data in decision making. Of course, but they are far from the only skills involved. Assuring quality data, for example, is a huge issue, one that involves politics and strong understandings of local contexts.
ANNA KALBARCZYK: The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has a global surveillance system unmatched in its quality and scope, and it also collects and analyzes a wide range of other data in its efforts to eliminate polio. This course dives into the methods, the logistics, and the politics of these efforts.
OLAKUNLE ALONGE: We will explore the key lessons we can draw from the program vast pool of knowledge and experience. We will examine what different cultural experiences tell us about what works and what challenges can arise.
ANNA KALBARCZYK: Two themes will run through these discussions, the promise and limits of technology and the importance of incentives.
ADITI RAO: In this course, we hope to bring experiences from the polio eradication effort across geographic and institutional contexts to help shape responses to other global health challenges.


Before we begin the course, let’s take a quick look at some of the issues and topics we will be covering over the next 3 weeks as we explore the lessons we can learn from the extraordinary global effort to eradicate polio.

Narrated by your course instructors, Olakunle Alonge, Svea Closser, Anna Kalbarczyk, and Aditi Rao, the video discuss the importance of surveillance and data in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

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Collecting and Using Data for Disease Control and Global Health Decision-Making

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