"These guidelines aim to assist public health professionals at [the] national level in the process of prioritization of communicable diseases/health events for public health surveillance. They represent a prototype for prioritization of communicable diseases, and describe the different steps in a prioritization exercise using a consensus methodology based on the Delphi method. They may need to be adapted depending on the organization of surveillance within a country, or for use in international collaborative settings where disease priorities may differ from those at national level. Prioritization is part of the process to strengthen a national surveillance system for communicable diseases and can be used as an aid in making decisions for resource allocation. Once the priorities are set, the adequacy of the existing surveillance system to cover the most important diseases needs to be reviewed and, if necessary, revised. Alternative methods of surveillance need to be considered and areas for improvement need to be identified. These guidelines focus on the prioritization of diseases for national surveillance but a similar process can be carried out to determine a list of communicable diseases for which a group of countries wants to undertake international, regional or cross-border surveillance. This will lead to a different list of diseases and different criteria, but the prioritization technique remains the same. The document is organized as follows: The introduction focuses on why, when and how to do a prioritization exercise; the following section describes the different steps of the prioritization exercise; and the final section covers the post-workshop activities."
2006 World Health Organization
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/en/