BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to gather information to assist with the development of a toolkit that can be used to assist European countries implement the International Health Regulations 2005. The study was performed as part of the REACT project (Response to Emerging Infectious Disease: Assessment and Development of Core Capacities and Tools), a collaborative project between several European public health institutes. This thesis presents obstacles and incentives to public health event reporting, provides successful and unsuccessful examples of reporting, and suggests the potential relevance of this information for the REACT toolkit.
METHODS: A systematic review of literature on health event reporting obstacles and incentives was conducted between April and September of 2009. Standardized, open-ended interviews with purposively sampled public health officials were conducted to collect examples of successful and unsuccessful public health reporting, and to investigate obstacles and incentives to public health event reporting. The interview data was analysed using the Framework analysis technique.
RESULTS: The results of the literature review and six qualitative interviews reveal a range of influences on reporting practices that affect European countries. In most cases, interviewee responses supported the results of the literature review. Priority areas developed through expert consultation, „professional engagement‟, „communication‟ and „infrastructure‟, were reinforced by the findings of the literature review and qualitative interviews. The examples extracted from the interview data contextualize current reporting and suggest areas that could benefit from guidance.
CONCLUSION: While the combined results of the literature review and qualitative interviews inform the construction of the REACT toolkit and provide valuable examples of event reporting, further research could elucidate unknown obstacles and incentives of public health event reporting.