11.5 Reporting to EPI teams and to WHO

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Details of how and when laboratories report results to EPI managers should be arranged locally. Results necessary for appropriate case follow-up will be of an urgent nature whereas data generated to guide supplementary immunization activities should be compiled, analysed, and transmitted according to the timeframe established for the programme. In general, however, all results from suspected cases should be reported within a short turnaround time (3-7 days) as established by the national or regional guidelines. In the absence of recent cases, a positive result should be reported within 24 hours.

Monthly exchange of information may be helpful to the programme and to the laboratory for the purpose of comparing and reviewing the completeness of data for suspected cases. In addition, feedback related to the adequacy of samples and any problems encountered can help identify issues and challenges to timeliness of specimen arrival and reporting. All reports should be available to the EPI managers on request.

All national laboratories are requested to provide a report of results to WHO. This information is used to update country summaries, monitor laboratory performance and coordinate international agency activity. Data provided in the reports is essential to the coordination of the programme as a whole, and it must be a priority activity of all laboratories in the network to send reports in a timely and accurate manner.

Because of the amount of data involved and the time required to analyse the information it is essential that laboratories processing more than 100 specimens a year provide their reports in computer database format by e-mail. WHO HQ can provide a set of laboratory data management programmes suitable for most of the GMRLN laboratories.