Sharing public health surveillance data enables regional collaborations, capacity strengthening and insight into public health system performance, leads to overall improvements in risk management, and enhances public health responsiveness. Informal data sharing arrangements can often produce the desired public health outcome, and should be encouraged where appropriate. Sometimes, however, more formal agreements are required. This guide is intended to facilitate both informal and formal data sharing, and to be used when a need to share public health surveillance data has been identified or when obstacles to sharing have been encountered. It aims to help create the right environment for data sharing, to facilitate good practice in addressing technical, political, ethical, economic and legal concerns that may arise, and to ensure to the greatest extent possible that any benefits arising from the use of the data are shared equitably.
The principles have been developed through a series of expert roundtables and consultations, and their release supports the May 2016 call to share public health surveillance data, issued by the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) on behalf of experts convened by Chatham House.
The Chatham House project team is grateful to all those who contributed their time and expertise to the Strengthening Data Sharing for Public Health project. A list of contributors can be found in the Additional Resources section on this page. Thanks are due to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for providing the financial support to pursue this project.
The Chatham House Strengthening Data Sharing for Public Health project team: David R Harper, Michael Edelstein, Asha Herten-Crabb, Matthew Brack and David L Heymann.