Centro Nacional de Control de Enfermedades Tropicales
Planta Hospital Jaime Mota
Av. Casandra Damirón Esq.
WHO Focal Point
Dr Steve Ault
Regional Advisor in Communicable Diseases (Parasitic Diseases)
Room 714, DPC
Regional Office for the Americas/Pan American Sanitray Bureau (AMRO/PAHO)
525, 3rd Street NW
Washington DC, USA
World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization - www.paho.org
Immuno-chromatographic ICT cards have enabled the countries in the Region to re-assess the epidemiological situation of LF. Current evidence strongly suggests that Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica have eliminated transmission. Belém and Maceio, two of three foci in Brazil, also have apparently interrupted transmission recently. Guyana launched a programme bases on the DEC-fortified salt regimen and continues efforts to scale it up.
The potential of integrating control programs into other ongoing public health initiatives in the Region is good, as are the prospects of implementing the programs in a cost-effective, socially responsible manner through links with other programs. There has been significant progress in re-assessing the status of infection and disease in the seven endemic or formerly-endemic countries and this important knowledge will allow the Region to redefine the at-risk population, the treatment targets and the implementation units (IU).
Work remains to be done to assess the scale of the problems of disability and to develop an appropriate response to address it. Some of the programs face obstacles, including the lack of both human and financial resources and, at times, political commitment. Thus, the Global Alliance is confronted with the challenge of conducting intensive advocacy among those capable of effective action, including the Ministries of Health, the NGDOs, the bilateral agencies and the United Nations system.
Among the biggest challenges are the need to scale-up efforts in those countries where mass distribution activities are on-going. Among the most important assets sustaining the regional LF elimination efforts are the partnerships and alliances that have evolved among the countries, the international community, the private sector and non governmental organizations (NGO). Our regional initiative must quickly consolidate a rational disability prevention and rehabilitation program in collaboration with our partners and sponsors.