About SARInet plus
SARInet plus is a collaboration coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) of professionals from hospitals, laboratories, health organizations and other institutions and networks that have participated in the surveillance of Acute Respiratory Infections Serious (SARI) in the Americas.
Created in 2014, SARInet has been a key element in the scientific research of different viral infections (like Influenza) and includes members from countries across the Americas such as Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba , Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Three different stages can be distinguished in the evolution of SARInet:
After the H1N1 influenza pandemic the countries of the Americas felt the need to develop and implemented SARI surveillance methodologies in sentinel hospitals in the region. The efforts and the results achieved made it clear that there was a need for the implementation of continuous research and surveillance.
SARInet was created in 2014 as a tool to maintain coordinated collaboration among professionals from hospitals, laboratories, health organizations and networks that have participated in SARI and ILI surveillance. All the work done throughout the years proved to be a massive advantage on how to deal with the SAR-CoV2 pandemic that started in 2019.
Strengthening (2022- Onwards)
After eight years of continuous work and achieving several of its initial objectives, SARInet decided to expand itself. As a result, it was agreed, by the members, to rename the network SARInet plus in order to incorporate the surveillance of other respiratory viruses with epidemic and pandemic potential. This came from the understanding that its detection, monitoring, and evaluation is especially relevant to strengthening respiratory pathogen surveillance systems, human-animal interface and clinical management in the Americas.
Lead in the Region of the Americas the cooperation, exchange of knowledge and experiences related to influenza and other respiratory viruses with epidemic and pandemic potential.
To be a network for dialogue, opinion and participation, committed to the generation of scientific evidence that influences the health policies of the countries of the Region aimed at the implementation of measures to prevent, control and reduce the burden of viral respiratory infections.
The SARInet plus organization is made up of a Secretariat, Consultative Group and Working Groups. The network consists of member countries, collaborating institutions and individuals.
The SARInet plus Secretariat is in charge of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). It coordinates the activities of the network, including its regular annual meeting with all members in which experiences of different activities, data and how to strengthen the surveillance network are shared. Among the more specific functions of the network are:
- Provide technical support and training to members to improve SARI surveillance systems.
- Assist countries in assessing their surveillance capabilities and procedures.
- Provide a forum to share good practices of the scientific community.
- Maintain the platform to share information.
- Distribute weekly reports on epidemiological surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses in the Americas.
- Distribute other reports and updates on network activities.
- Develop and strengthen strategic partnerships.
- Mobilize technical and financial resources for network activities.
- Support and facilitate technical cooperation between countries.
- Maintain and facilitate the communication of all members of the network.
The Consultative Group supervises the work of SARInet plus and that its activities are aligned with the established objectives and goals. Among the functions of the Consultative Group are:
- Reviews, supervises and evaluates the implementation of SARInet plus activities.
- Propose specific activities for the network.
- Coordinates the thematic working groups.
- Determines the calendar of annual meetings and other events.
- Communicates updates and important issues through electronic messages, meetings, and/or tele or video conferences.
The Secretariat and the Consultative Group will establish Working Groups to carry out specific projects according to their needs, requesting the participation of interested members. The working groups define their objectives, the duration of their mandate and will periodically report their progress to the Consultative Group. The working groups are made up of volunteers who actively participate sharing ideas, skills and experiences to complete the defined projects.
Countries in the Americas that conduct SARI surveillance are invited to join SARInet plus. To strengthen the collaboration and quality of work conducted by SARInet plus, members are encouraged to:
- Appoint two national focal points (one for epidemiology and one for laboratories) to maintain communication in the network.
- Establish an evaluation and monitoring system in its participating hospitals.
- Generate and disseminate reports on the burden of influenza epidemiology.
- Participate in FluID and FluNET.
- Participate in public health research projects.
- Propose technical projects in public health.
Organizations and institutions that support SARI surveillance activities are invited to join SARInet plus as Collaborators. To promote the exchange of information and a multidisciplinary strategy to improve regional surveillance, Collaborators are encouraged to share experiences and knowledge in the following ways:
- Participating in the annual meetings of the network.
- Providing technical and/or scientific support, as needed.
- Contributing to the advancement of SARInet plus and its efforts to reduce the burden of influenza and SARI associated with RVO.
- Propose public health research projects.
Individuals involved with SARI surveillance in hospitals, laboratories and other organizations are also invited to join SARInet plus as Participants. To enhance collaboration and information sharing, participants are encouraged to share experiences and lessons learned from their work on SARI surveillance.