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Vigilato M.A.,Pan American Health Organization
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2013

Human rabies transmitted by dogs is considered a neglected disease that can be eliminated in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by 2015. The aim of this paper is to discuss canine rabies policies and projections for LAC regarding current strategies for achieving this target and to critically review the political, economic and geographical factors related to the successful elimination of this deadly disease in the context of the difficulties and challenges of the region. The strong political and technical commitment to control rabies in LAC in the 1980s, started with the regional programme coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization. National and subnational programmes involve a range of strategies including mass canine vaccination with more than 51 million doses of canine vaccine produced annually, pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, improvements in disease diagnosis and intensive surveillance. Rabies incidence in LAC has dramatically declined over the last few decades, with laboratory confirmed dog rabies cases decreasing from approximately 25 000 in 1980 to less than 300 in 2010. Dog-transmitted human rabies cases also decreased from 350 to less than 10 during the same period. Several countries have been declared free of human cases of dog-transmitted rabies, and from the 35 countries in the Americas, there is now only notification of human rabies transmitted by dogs in seven countries (Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and some states in north and northeast Brazil). Here, we emphasize the importance of the political commitment in the final progression towards disease elimination. The availability of strategies for rabies control, the experience of most countries in the region and the historical ties of solidarity between countries with the support of the scientific community are evidence to affirm that the elimination of dog-transmitted rabies can be achieved in the short term. The final efforts to confront the remaining obstacles, like achieving and sustaining high vaccination coverage in communities that are most impoverished or in remote locations, are faced by countries that struggle to allocate sufficient financial and human resources for rabies control. Continent-wide cooperation is therefore required in the final efforts to secure the free status of remaining countries in the Americas, which is key to the regional elimination of human rabies transmitted by dogs.

Alleyne G.A.O.,Pan American Health Organization
Infectious Disease Clinics of North America | Year: 2011

Growth in global health interest in the past 20 years has been overwhelming and many universities throughout the world have created departments or institutes of global health. The essence of global health has to be promoting health equity globally. The global health agenda must embrace design of mixed health systems, involving both private and public components to address the emerging threat of noncommunicable diseases and existing communicable diseases as well as to reduce health inequity. The priority agenda for the twenty-first century is challenging but the improvements of the past give hope that the barriers to improving global health are surmountable. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Andrus J.K.,Pan American Health Organization
Expert review of vaccines | Year: 2013

Effective management and coordination in regions currently lacking surveillance capacity will require significant increases in existing human resources to manage vitally needed expanded national surveillance systems. An adequate investment in human resources and infrastructure capacity is essential for ensuring surveillance functions well. This was the experience in the Americas, particularly with the recent elimination of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome. By taking this path, other benefits to the overall public health of the nations will occur. The purpose of this paper is to present perspectives on the role of surveillance in the elimination of rubella in the Americas and to share related perspectives on capacity development in developing countries. Hopefully, these perspectives will aid efforts to strengthen surveillance and advance rubella elimination in other regions of the world.

Gonzalez M.A.,Pan American Health Organization
BMC public health | Year: 2011

International cohort studies have shown that antiretroviral treatment (ART) has improved survival of HIV-infected individuals. National population based studies of HIV mortality exist in industrialized settings but few have been presented from developing countries. Our objective was to investigate on a population basis, the regional situation regarding HIV mortality and trends in Latin America (LA) in the context of adoption of public ART policies and gender differences. Cause of death data from vital statistics registries from 1996 to 2007 with "good" or "average" quality of mortality data were examined. Standardized mortality rates and Poisson regression models by country were developed and differences among countries assessed to identify patterns of HIV mortality over time occurring in Latin America. Standardized HIV mortality following the adoption of public ART policies was highest in Panama and El Salvador and lowest in Chile. During the study period, three overall patterns were identified in HIV mortality trends- following the adoption of the free ART public policies; a remarkable decrement, a remarkable increment and a slight increment. HIV mortality was consistently higher in males compared to females. Mean age of death attributable to HIV increased in the majority of countries over the study period. Vital statistics registries provide valuable information on HIV mortality in LA. While the introduction of national policies for free ART provision has coincided with declines in population-level HIV mortality and increasing age of death in some countries, in others HIV mortality has increased. Barriers to effective ART implementation and uptake in the context of free ART public provision policies should be further investigated.

Silva J.C.,Pan American Health Organization
Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2014

Objective. Describe the rationale and methodology of the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness carried out at the national level in 2011-2013 in Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. Methods. The survey includes individuals aged 50 years and older, minimizing required sample sizes, which vary from 2 000 to 5 000 people. It uses straightforward sampling and examination techniques, and data analysis is automatic and does not require a statistician. It is relatively inexpensive, as it does not take a long time, does not require expensive ophthalmic equipment, and can be carried out by local staff. Reports are generated by the assessment software package. Results. Indicators measured are prevalence of blindness and of moderate and severe visual impairment (broken down into avoidable causes and cataracts); prevalence of aphakia or pseudophakia; cataract surgical coverage; visual outcome of cataract surgeries; causes of poor outcomes; access barriers to cataract surgery; and cataract surgery service indicators. Results of each assessment will be published sequentially in successive issues of the Journal, and a final summary article will analyze results as a whole and in comparison with the other surveys in this group and with those previously published, which will provide a current picture of the situation in this group of countries. Conclusions. The Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness is a robust, simple, and inexpensive methodology to determine prevalence of blindness and visual impairment as well as eye health service coverage and quality. It is a very valuable tool for measuring progress by blindness prevention programs and their impact on the population.

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