The Pestel outbreak has vindicated the approach of he Haiti Epidemic Advisory System. One of its founders, Dr. James Wilson, has posted The Haiti Epidemic Advisory System (HEAS) on his HEAS blog. This is a long report, originally intended for internal publication by the US government. The summary:
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti severely reduced medical and public health capacity and, like all catastrophic events, challenged continuity of government. After the event, representatives of the Haitian government and foreign government responders faced very difficult choices.
Answering Haiti’s calls for help, international aid agencies and non-government organizations sought to fill the void, donating medicines, equipment, and medical treatment. While foreign medical practitioners worked side by side with local doctors to perform triage, the authors of this paper volunteered their time to Haiti’s people as members of a new professional discipline, operational biosurveillance.
This is a report of the authors’ Haiti response – generating significant benefits solely from time volunteered by three experienced professionals drawing upon a very limited US$10,000 in donated expense funding.
During the 2009 Mexico influenza outbreak, the authors had shown themselves capable of delivering significant (more than two weeks) early warning of a major infectious disease event without the support of government infrastructure. In Haiti, the authors delivered accurate advanced forecasts, warnings, and alerts for a multitude of key infectious disease events that were often days, weeks, and months ahead of any alternative. This increased the preparedness and response capability of medical personnel and reduced threats of social disruption caused by disease.
The authors describe their process and lessons learnt in this report.