Public Health Surveillance: A Tool for Targeting and Monitoring Interventions

In: Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd edition. Washington (DC): The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank; 2006. Chapter 53.


Public health surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, closely integrated with the timely dissemination of these data to those responsible for preventing and controlling disease and injury (Thacker and Berkelman 1988). Public health surveillance is a tool to estimate the health status and behavior of the populations served by ministries of health, ministries of finance, and donors. Because surveillance can directly measure what is going on in the population, it is useful both for measuring the need for interventions and for directly measuring the effects of interventions. The purpose of surveillance is to empower decision makers to lead and manage more effectively by providing timely, useful evidence.

Publication types

  • Review