Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
In partnership with the Division of Disease Surveillance and Response (DDSR) at the Ministry
of Public Health and Sanitation (MOPHS) in Kenya, a study will be conducted to see how well the short message service (SMS)-based outbreak alert system works when compared to the standard practice currently in practice in Kenya. Health facility representatives will use this system to report suspected disease outbreaks for a period of 6 months.
Who can participate?
153 health facilities, that are run by the government, private and non-profit organisations, belonging to 12 districts in Kenya, can participate in this study.
What does the study involve?
The health facilities are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Health facility workers, who is in charge of surveillance, belonging to one group will use the SMS-based disease outbreak alert system and those in the other (control) group will use the standard system. The time spent on disease notification at the health facility, and the response by surveillance coordinators at national and district levels will be measured and compared.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The results will help to understand and consider the effectiveness of the SMS-based outbreak alert system in order to enhance the disease surveillance and response mechanisms in Kenya.
Where is the study run from?
The study sites will include the two counties, Busia and Kajiado in Kenya.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study is starting in June 2013 and is expected to run till March 2014.
Who is funding the study?
JICA-JST SATREPS project, Japan and Kenya.
Who is the main contact?
Ms Mitsuru Toda
Evaluating the response to suspected disease outbreaks using a short message service (SMS) model: a cluster randomized controlled trial
To determine the feasibility of the implementation of an SMS based based outbreak alert model and evaluate the timeliness of disease notification and response in selected health facilities in Kenya.
Null hypothesis: Implementation of the SMS based outbreak alert system will not change the timeliness of notification and response of disease outbreaks in selected health facilities in Kenya.
Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Ethical Review Committee (ERC) gave approval on 6th May 2013. [Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) reference number 2523]
Interventional, single-center, pre-post cluster randomized controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request an interviewee information sheet
14 priority diseases that require immediate reporting: adverse events following immunization,
anthrax, cholera, Guinea worm, measles, neonatal tetanus, plague, Rift Valley fever, severe
acute respiratory infections, viral hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and other (any public health
event of national and international concerns).
153 facilities in 12 districts will be randomized to two groups: intervention and control groups, to measure the effects of the SMS-based outbreak alert system before and after implementation.
The intervention will target health facility workers, a representative who is in-charge of surveillance, to utilise the SMS-based outbreak alert system. Surveillance
coordinators at the national and district levels who are in charge of data management and outbreak response will be the ones who will manage, consume, and act upon the information that is sent through the SMS-based outbreak alert system.
Control: The standard disease notification and response systems (mostly paper-based) that are currently in place in Kenya.
Primary outcome measure
1. Percentage of health facilities that reported suspected outbreak cases within 24 hours to the next level
2. Percentage of health facilities that responded to suspected outbreak cases within 24 hours of notification
Secondary outcome measures
1. To assess the feasibility of implementing the SMS-based outbreak alert system
2. To determine the impact of the SMS-based outbreak alert system on the timeliness of disease outbreak notification
3. To determine the impact of the SMS-based outbreak alert system on the timeliness of disease
4. To determine qualitatively the factors that influence performance on disease outbreak
notification and response
Documents review, structured interview, and knowledge assessment questions will be conducted to collect quantitative information. Key informant interview will be conducted to collect qualitative information.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Health facilities that are listed on the Kenya Master Facility List (MFL)
2. Health facilities that offer curative services
3. Health facilities that are operational
4. Interviews will be conducted with health workers and disease surveillance coordinators who are literate and can comprehend English
Target number of participants
153 health facilities
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Health facilities that are not listed on MFL
2. Health facilities that do not offer curative services
3. Health facility in-charges or a representative who cannot send SMS during training
4. Health facilities that do not have mobile phone network coverage in the area
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
KEMRI-NUITM, PO Box 1993-00202
JICA-JST SATREPS project (Partners include: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Nagasaki University, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in Kenya, and Kenya Medical Research Institute)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)