Improving food safety in Bangladesh

Food Borne Illness Surveillance

A country-wide pathogen-specific surveillance system is an ideal way of tracking diarrhoeal and food-borne diseases. The programme is supporting the Institute of Epidemiology and Disease Control Research (IEDCR) which has developed a sentinel site based surveillance system. This system is collecting first hand information on the severity and prevalence of food borne illnesses across the country. Further data is being collected through web-based and cellular data collection systems. Information from more than 400 of the 481 sub-districts of the country is available. Rapid Response Teams that respond to incidences of illness and outbreak investigations are helping to identify hotspots and definitive sources of food-borne pathogens. This provides a handle to evaluate the impact of current public health initiatives intended to decrease this incidence and assist in the design of more targeted ones.

The Project is enhancing the system using a food chain approach. Laboratory service for analysis of clinical and food samples are being strengthened through capacity development. A national Food Safety Emergency Response Plan has been drafted and mechanisms for the implementation of plan of action are being established in consultation with all stakeholders in food safety. Research into the emerging threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) will be conducted.