We have made considerable progress in setting and scaling up surveillance systems to drive evidence-based policy decisions, but the recent epidemics highlight that current systems are not optimally designed. Good surveillance systems should be coordinated, comprehensive, and adaptive. They should generate data in real time for immediate analysis and intervention, whether for endemic diseases or potential epidemics. Such systems are especially needed in low-resource settings where disease burden is the highest, but tracking systems are the weakest here due to competing priorities and constraints on available resources. In this article, using the examples of 3 large, and mostly successful, infectious disease surveillance studies in Bangladesh, we identify 2 core limitations-the pathogen bias and the vaccine bias-in the way current surveillance programs are designed for low-resource settings. We highlight the strengths of the current Global Invasive Bacterial Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance Network of the World Health Organization and present case studies from Bangladesh to illustrate how this surveillance platform can be leveraged to overcome its limitations. Finally, we propose a set of criteria for building a comprehensive infectious disease surveillance system with the hope of encouraging current systems to use the limited resources as optimally as possible to generate the maximum amount of knowledge.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.