Role And Reflection On The Enhanced Surveillance Section

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The Enhanced Surveillance Section (ESS) is part of the Surveillance and Epidemiology Division within the Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). ESS monitors the prevalence of HIV and other related infections, as well as associated risk behaviours through bio-behavioural surveillance among key populations (e.g. aboriginals, people who inject drugs, and men who have sex with men). The section also conducts national surveillance of HIV strain and drug resistance.
My practicum experience took place at the Enhanced Surveillance Section of PHAC in Ottawa. I feel fortunate to work alongside such experienced and highly talented group of professionals in public health
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Claudia Rank, a Senior Epidemiologist with the PHAC, at the ESS. My primary role was to provide support to the HIV care cascade project.
The HIV care cascade is an internationally recognized framework used to assess the extent to which people living with HIV are engaged along the continuum of care. Increasingly, this model is being recommended to monitor the effectiveness of programs, guide policies, and identify opportunities to improve the delivery of HIV services. Development of national HIV cascade measures is critical to enhance surveillance of HIV in Canada, inform programmatic responses, and assess progress against global monitoring goals such as the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets.
During my first few days of practicum and after an initial meeting with my field supervisor, I reviewed their training material as well as the standard operating procedure (SOP) binder in order to familiarize myself with the organizational and administrative structure of the Surveillance and Epidemiology Division and in particular Enhanced Surveillance Section. Also, I prepared and submitted the learning contract and ethics approval application for my practicum project. These initial steps were important, as they demonstrated effective communication skills with my supervisor and other team members, and helped me contribute to PHAC’s key values and vision as an
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Construction and analysis of HIV cascade framework would help to improve HIV services by key populations and their retention in those services. Tracks bio-behavioral surveillance system is one of the main program areas within ESS which monitors prevalence of HIV, hepatitis C, and other Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections (STBBI) and associated risk behaviours among vulnerable populations in Canada. For this project, I worked alongside the “Tracks” team to analyze the results of their surveys among three of the vulnerable populations, i.e. aboriginals (A-Track), people who inject drugs (I-Track), and men who have sex with men (M-Track). These cross-sectional surveys are conducted periodically at regular intervals. For my practicum, I analyzed the following survey

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