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Red Cross Community Based Surveillance

Join the world’s largest humanitarian organisation and code for good!

Health care provision in emergencies is often complicated by a lack of information, particularly relating to real-time data on health issues and where help is needed. By allowing for people themselves to report on health situations we can ensure that help is provided in the right place at the right time. This is CBS!

In other words, community based surveillance (CBS) is the use of input from communities themselves to collect, analyse and interpret information on local health risks to prevent, identify and respond to disease outbreaks. As early warning of health risks leads to early action and lives saved, community based surveillance can stop disease outbreaks from turning into large scale epidemics and pandemics.

Read more about CBS here!

Upcoming events

The CBS system is en event-driven microservices app with dotnet core, angular, Docker and Kubernetes. It is created by volunteers and we need your help to make the system better!


Sunday, July 1, 2012


Sierra Leone experienced their worst cholera outbreak in 15 years, with more than 22 000 people infected. Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that could kill within hours if left untreated.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Red cross 400 cholera first aid points

Sierra Leone Red Cross established 400 cholera first aid posts in rural communities, treating 95% of people with diarrhoea in their communities. Calling the volunteers provided daily data needed for the epidemic response. An idea was born: we need community based surveillance to inform operations and response.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Haiti Cholera outbreak persists

The Haiti Cholera outbreak persists. The Red Cross does cholera prevention and response in rural and urban communities, and starts planning for the first pilot of community based surveillance in hard-to-reach communities

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The first CBS pilot

The first CBS pilot in Petit Goave and Grand Goave, Haiti: Community based volunteers are trained to provide first aid (rehydration) to people with acute watery diarrhea, and equipped with basic mobile phones to detect and report acute watery diarrhea cases by SMS. Several cholera outbreaks where detected and responded to throughout the project period, thus strengthening our belief in the CBS methodology: we had a proof of concept.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ebola outbreak hit West Africa

When the Ebola outbreak hit West Africa in 2014 it became even more evident that a functional surveillance system that extended beyond health clinics, and that engaged communities to be part of the solution to stop the spread of disease was crucial. Since disease outbreaks start and stop in communities, the most acute need was to identify, isolate and treat sick people as early as possible.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Setting up an integrated CBS project in 3 districts

Sierra Leone Red Cross and the IFRC set up an integrated CBS project in 3 districts, aiming at early detection of suspected Ebola, Measles, and Cholera, in addition to floods and wild fire. Integrated programs may have bigger positive impact than only addressing one stand-alone risk. More than 2200 volunteers contributed to the CBS system - demonstrating the scale-up potential of the CBS system and the suitability of the method in addressing various community risks.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Detecting and stopping spread og Plague in Madagascar

Detecting and stopping spread of plague in Madagascar. Malagasy Red Cross volunteers are addressing risks related to poor hygiene and sanitation, as well as plague outbreaks. They work with communities to report suspected plague cases by SMS, which includes warning signs of animal die-offs and community deaths. The ongoing work on CBS in Madagascar has demonstrated the need for and possibilities of leveraging technology for streamlining data management processes and enabling decision making based on real-time data.

Contact information

Rebecca M. Bushby

Activity Coordinator Community Based Surveillance
Cell phone: +47 458 80 521

Anine Kongelf

Community Based Surveillance Coordinator
Cell phone: +47 415 47 913

Med støtte fra: Utenriksdepartementet  Innovasjon Norge

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