Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis. From 4th – 5th October 2023, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a hybrid Training in DHIS2, Using Food and Nutrition Indicators to Support Food and Nutrition Surveillance in St. Kitts and Nevis, at the National ICT Centre in Basseterre.
In her opening remarks, Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury Department, CARPHA, stated that, “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is an epidemic in the region that is increasing from year to year, and in order to fully assess its impact and the effectiveness of implementation programmes we need a robust national and regional surveillance system.” She further stated that, “this gap will be filled by the Caribbean (Regional) NCD Surveillance System (CNSS), which includes Food and Nutrition Surveillance, housed on the DHIS2 (District Health Information System 2) platform, the idea for which was birthed from an agreement among Member States as part of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (CCH-IV).”
Dr Hazel Laws, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, reiterated the importance of health surveillance as “health surveillance data is used to inform health protection, health improvement and health service delivery. It is also used to determine acute and chronic diseases occurrences and risk factors, to improve public health and improve disease.” She indicated that “the digitisation of the health sector and health surveillance in St. Kitts and Nevis is a priority of the Honourable Minister of Health for which the groundwork has already begun.” Dr Laws concluded by stating that “the DHIS2 is a tool that can be used to strengthen the health information system in St. Kitts and Nevis” and that “with support from CARPHA, the goal is to develop an integrated national surveillance system to inform policies, regulatory framework and all public health interventions.”
Ms. Abigail Caleb, Senior Technical Officer, Food Security and Nutrition, CARPHA, further highlighted the importance of the training, stating that “food and nutrition surveillance systems are critical to public health as they provide information for immediate and medium to long term decision-making relating to the nutritional risk factors, nutritional status and nutrition-related diseases and disorders in a country’s population.” Further, “a functional system also provides a strong evidence base and capacity for the measurement of outcomes of national programs towards the achievement of regional and global targets.”
The workshop sought to increase understanding of the Food and Nutrition Surveillance System (FNSS) and the thirty-four (34) food and nutrition indicators as part of the CNSS. Another objective was to demonstrate skills in data entry, analysis, and visualisation (tables and graphs) in the NCDs Surveillance Reporting Form, with focus on Food and Nutrition Surveillance, hosted on the DHIS2 platform.
The training was attended by twenty-eight (28) technical officers from the Ministries of Health, Education and Sustainable Development in St. Kitts and Nevis.
This workshop was funded under the Subsidiary Agreement between CARPHA and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) “Strengthening Public Health Capacities in the Caribbean Subregion”.