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The IDPSS Google Group was effective in encouraging timely and reciprocal communication between IDPSS coordinators and NGOs and also among NGO colleagues interested in informally comparing observed disease trends and reporting challenges at their respective clinic locations.
IDPSS officially began on February 18, 37 days after the earthquake occurred; however, 33 clinics reported data during February 2-18.
Implementation of IDPSS included logistical and operational challenges similar to those described during other humanitarian emergencies: coordinating multiple, geographically dispersed organizations providing clinical services; rapid health-care provider turnover; inadequate infrastructure; and a dynamic situation.
During the first 7 weeks of IDPSS, infrequent reporting was observed, even from the largest, well-established NGOs.
Analysis of IDPSS data was limited by the lack of denominator information, making calculation of incidence rates (reportable cases per population) impossible.
Six months after the earthquake, frequency of reporting to IDPSS has been increasing.
In settings with similar communication challenges, focus should be both on interactive, Internet-based forums (e.g., the IDPSS Google Group) and in-person meetings.
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