RITM serves as both the National Referral Center for Emerging and Re-emerging diseases and the National Reference Laboratory for various infectious and tropical diseases. Hence, the need to rapidly coordinate its results for an efficient public health response. Through the RITM Office Order No. 511 series of 2013, the RITM Surveillance and Response Unit (SRU) was created to integrate, coordinate, and report clinical and laboratory surveillance data generated by the Institute. These include data on the specimens which were tested at RITM and data on patients who sought consultation or were admitted at the RITM Hospital.
RITM SRU monitors all laboratory samples received by the Institute to analyse trend of a certain disease. The results of this analysis are then reported to the Epidemiology Bureau (EB) and National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC) to identify if there is an increasing number of confirmed cases of an infectious disease in a particular area. Through this system, SRU can give an early signal to the DOH Central office of a possible outbreak.
As the repository of surveillance data generated by RITM, SRU also assists in epidemiological studies of various infectious diseases, especially with an increasing rate of emerging and re-emerging diseases due to factors such as population inflation, climate change, and other environmental factors.
With the health threats posed by climate change, the RITM SRU’s analysis of surveillance data could be helpful for epidemiological modelling and studies on various infectious diseases for early warning and impact reduction.