The SPSU aims to facilitate research in the area of rare paediatric illnesses or complications, as well as epidemiological investigations associated with these questions, so as to permit a rapid response if necessary. As a tool for this purpose, the SPSU makes available to project leaders a nationwide active reporting system. While particular emphasis is placed on the monitoring of infectious diseases and complications thereof, studies on other relevant topics are also accepted by the SPSU.

By coordinating and centralizing primary data collection, the SPSU wishes to help control the proliferation of questionnaires. By raising awareness among participating hospitals/paediatricians of the topics addressed, it seeks to improve knowledge in the area of rare clinical events. The SPSU is a member of the International Network of Paediatric Surveillance Units (INoPSU), whose aims include the promotion of joint studies in various countries. The following countries are currently members of this network: Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and Wales.