A participatory epidemiological and One Health approach to explore the community’s capacity to detect emerging zoonoses and surveillance network opportunities in the forest region of Guinea
The Ebola virus disease epidemic that threatened West Africa between 2013 and 2016 was of unprecedented health magnitude. After this health crisis, studies highlighted the need to introduce community-based surveillance systems and to adopt a One Health approach. This study aimed to provide preparatory insights for the definition of a community-based surveillance system for emerging zoonoses such as viral hemorrhagic fevers in Guinea. The objective was to explore the disease detection capacity and the surveillance network opportunities at the community level in two pilot areas in the forest region of Guinea, where the epidemic emerged. Based on a participatory epidemiological and One Health approach, we conducted Focus Group Discussions with human, animal and ecosystem health actors. We used a range of participatory tools, included semi-structured interviews, ranking, scoring and flow diagram, to estimate the local knowledge and perception of diseases and clinical signs and to investigate the existing health information exchange network and its related strengths and weaknesses. The results showed that there is heterogeneity in knowledge of diseases and perception of the clinical signs among actors and that there are preferred and more effective health communication channels opportunities. This preparatory study suggests that it is necessary to adapt the case definitions and the health communication channels to the different actors who can play a role in a future community-based surveillance system and provides recommendations for future surveillance activities to be carried out in West Africa.