Background: The use of a malaria early warning system (MEWS) to trigger prompt public health interventions is a key step in adding value to the epidemiological data routinely collected by sentinel surveillance systems.
Methods: This study describes a system using various epidemic thresholds and a forecasting component with the support of new technologies to improve the performance of a sentinel MEWS. Malaria-related data from 21 sentinel sites collected by Short Message Service are automatically analysed to detect malaria trends and malaria outbreak alerts with automated feedback reports.
Results: Roll Back Malaria partners can, through a user-friendly web-based tool, visualize potential outbreaks and generate a forecasting model. The system already demonstrated its ability to detect malaria outbreaks in Madagascar in 2014.
Conclusion: This approach aims to maximize the usefulness of a sentinel surveillance system to predict and detect epidemics in limited-resource environments.