Background The revised integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) guidelines adopted by African member states in 2010 aimed at strengthening surveillance systems critical capacities. Milestones achieved through IDSR strategy implementation prior to adopting the revised guidelines are well documented; however, there is a dearth of knowledge on the progress made post-adoption. This study aimed to review key recommendations resulting from surveillance assessment studies to improve implementation of the revitalised IDSR system in the African region based on health workers' perspectives. The review focused on literature published between 2010 and 2019 post-adopting the revised IDSR guidelines in the African region. Methods A systematic literature search in PubMed, Web of Science and Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature was conducted. In addition, manual reference searches and grey literature searches using World Health Organisation Library and Information Networks for Knowledge databases were undertaken. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement checklist for systematic reviews was utilised for the review process. Results Thirty assessment studies met the inclusion criteria. IDSR implementation under the revised guidelines could be improved considerably bearing in mind critical findings and recommendations emanating from the reviewed surveillance assessment studies. Key recommendations alluded to provision of laboratory facilities and improved specimen handling, provision of reporting forms and improved reporting quality, surveillance data accuracy and quality, improved knowledge and surveillance system performance, utilisation of up-to-date information and surveillance system strengthening, provision of resources, enhanced reporting timeliness and completeness, adopting alternative surveillance strategies and conducting further research to improve surveillance functions. Conclusion Recommendations on strengthening IDSR implementation in the African region post-adopting the revised guidelines mainly identify surveillance functions focused on reporting, feedback, training, supervision, timeliness and completeness of the surveillance system as aspects requiring policy refinement. Systematic review registration PROSPERO registration number CRD42019124108.