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Challenges for communicable disease surveillance and control in southern Iraq, April-June 2003. Letter from Basrah.
JAMA. 2003 Aug 6; 290(5):654-658.The recent war in Iraq presents significant challenges for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases. In early April 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a team of public health experts to Kuwait and a base was established in the southern Iraqi governorate of Basrah on May 3. We present the lessons learned from the communicable disease surveillance and control program implemented in the Basrah governorate in Iraq (population of 1.9 million) in April and May 2003, and we report communicable disease surveillance data through June 2003. Following the war, communicable disease control programs were disrupted, access to safe water was reduced, and public health facilities were looted. Rapid health assessments were carried out in health centers and hospitals to identify priorities for action. A Health Sector Coordination Group was organized with local and international health partners, and an early warning surveillance system for communicable disease was set up. In the first week of May 2003, physicians in hospitals in Basrah suspected cholera cases and WHO formed a cholera control committee. As of June 29, 2003, Iraqi hospital laboratories have con firmed 94 cases of cholera from 7 of the 8 districts of the Basrah governorate. To prevent the transmission of major communicable diseases, restoring basic public health and water/sanitation services is currently a top priority in Iraq. Lack of security continues to be a barrier for effective public health surveillance and response in Iraq. (author's)
Scaling up antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings: treatment guidelines for a public health approach. Rev. ed.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2003. 67 p.Currently, fewer than 5% of people in developing countries who need ART can access the medicines in question. WHO believes that at least 3 million people needing care should be able to get the medicines by 2005. This represents almost a tenfold increase. These treatment guidelines are intended to support and facilitate the proper management and scale-up of ART in the years to come by proposing a public health approach to achieve the goals. The key tenets of this approach are as follows. 1) Scaling-up of antiretroviral treatment programmes with a view to universal access, i.e. all persons requiring treatment as indicated by medical criteria should have access to it. 2) Standardization and simplification of ARV regimens so as to support the efficient implementation of treatment programmes in resource-limited settings. 3) Ensuring that ARV treatment programmes are based on scientific evidence in order to avoid the use of substandard protocols that compromise the outcomes of individual patients and create a potential for the emergence of drug-resistant virus. However, it is also important to consider the realities with respect to the availability of human resources, health system infrastructures and socioeconomic contexts so that clear and realistic recommendations can be made. (excerpt)
Scaling up antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Guidelines for a public health approach.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, Department of HIV / AIDS, 2002. 163 p.These guidelines are part of the World Health Organization’s commitment to the global scale-up of antiretroviral therapy. Their development involved international consultative meetings throughout 2001, in which more than 200 clinicians, scientists, government representatives, representatives of civil society and people living with HIV/AIDS from more than 60 countries participated. The recommendations included in this document are largely based on a review of evidence and reflect the best current practices. Where the body of evidence was not conclusive, expert consensus was used as a basis for recommendations. We hope that this guidance will help Member countries as they work towards meeting the global target of having three million people on antiretroviral therapy by 2005. (excerpt)
Scaling up antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Guidelines for a public health approach. Executive summary.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, Department of HIV / AIDS, 2002 Apr. 31 p.Currently, fewer than five per cent of those who require ARV treatment can access these medicines in resource limited settings. WHO believes that at least three million people needing care should be able to get medicines by 2005—a more than ten-fold increase. These guidelines are intended to support and facilitate the proper management and scale-up of ART in the years to come by proposing a public health approach to achieve these goals. The key tenets of this approach are: 1) Scaling up of antiretroviral treatment programmes to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in resource-limited settings; 2) Standardization and simplification of ARV regimens to support the efficient implementation of treatment programmes; 3) Ensuring that ARV treatment programmes are based on the best scientific evidence, in order to avoid the use of substandard treatment protocols which compromise the treatment outcome of individual clients and create the potential for emergence of drug resistant virus. (excerpt)
Manila, Philippines, WHO, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, .  p.Social mobilization can propel people to act, redirect or create human and material resources for the achievement of a social goal. Central to social mobilization is the concept of "social capital" defined as the interaction among people through systems that enhance and support that interaction. Social capital is created from a myriad of everyday interactions between people and is embodied in such structures as civic and religious groups, family membership, informal community networks, and in norms of v voluntarism, altruism and trust. Even in areas with limited economic capital, social capital has been shown to generate the energy and resources needed to effect changes in the community. Contextually, social mobilization is an integrative process where stakeholders are stimulated to become active participants in social change, using diverse strategies to meet shared goals. Simply put, social mobilization is about people taking action towards a common good. (excerpt)
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2006 Jul; 12(7):1058-1065.The new International Health Regulations adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2005 (IHR 2005) represents a major development in the use of international law for public health purposes. One of the most important aspects of IHR 2005 is the establishment of a global surveillance system for public health emergencies of international concern. This article assesses the surveillance system in IHR 2005 by applying well-established frameworks for evaluating public health surveillance. The assessment shows that IHR 2005 constitutes a major advance in global surveillance from what has prevailed in the past. Effectively implementing the IHR 2005 surveillance objectives requires surmounting technical, resource, governance, legal, and political obstacles. Although IHR 2005 contains some provisions that directly address these obstacles, active support by the World Health Organization and its member states is required to strengthen national and global surveillance capabilities. (author's)
Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology. 2006 Jul-Sep; 100(5-6):379-387.The Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which emerged from the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, are increasingly recognized as the over-arching development framework. As such, the MDG are increasingly guiding the policies of poor countries and aid agencies alike. This article reviews the challenges and opportunities for health presented by the MDG. The opportunities include that three of the eight MDG relate to health -- a recognition that health is central to global agenda of reducing poverty, as well as an important measure of human well-being in its own right. A related point is that the MDG help to focus attention on those health conditions that disproportionally affect the poor (communicable disease, child health and maternal health), which should, in turn, help to strengthen the equity focus of health policies in low-income countries. Further, because the MDG are concrete, it is possible to calculate the cost of achieving them, which in turn strengthens the long-standing calls for higher levels of aid for health. The challenges include that, while the MDG focus on specific diseases and conditions, they cannot be achieved without strengthening health systems. Similarly, progress towards the MDG will require health to be prioritized within overall development and economic policies. In practice, this means applying a health 'lens' to processes such as civil-service reform, decentralization and the drawing-up of frameworks of national expenditure. Finally, the MDG cannot be met with the resources available in low-income countries. While the MDG framework has created pressure for donors to commit to higher levels of aid, the challenge remains to turn these commitments into action. Data are presented to show that, at current rates of progress, the health-related MDG will not be achieved. This disappointing trend could be reversed, however, if the various challenges outlined are met. (author's)
Gender mainstreaming in emerging disease surveillance and response, Western Pacific Region. Draft background paper.
[Unpublished] 2011. Draft background paper commissioned by the World Health Organization for the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19-21 October 2011.  p. (WCSDH/BCKGRT/16/2011; Draft Background Paper 16)The primary lessons learned from this case study are that gender awareness training of staff and staff collective planning are useful avenues by which to begin the process of gender mainstreaming. Additionally, full support from all levels of leadership has been crucial to the success of gender mainstreaming within the Division. In particular, support for gender mainstreaming and pressure to implement gender mainstreaming by Division and Regional Office leadership have been crucial to the early success of these efforts. (Excerpt)
Principles and considerations for adding a vaccine to a national immunization programme: From decision to implementation and monitoring.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, EPI, 2014.  p.This essential resource document reviews the principles and issues to be considered when making decisions about, planning, and implementing the introduction of a vaccine into a national immunization programme. Importantly, the document highlights ways to use the opportunity provided by the vaccine introduction to strengthen immunization and health systems. The comprehensive guidance also describes the latest references and tools related to vaccine decision-making, economic analyses, cold chain, integrated disease control and health promotion, vaccine safety, communications, monitoring, and more, and provides key URL links to many of these resources.
Global Health Action. 2015 Sep 18; 8:29034.Background: Health equity is a priority in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and other major health initiatives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a history of promoting actions to achieve equity in health, including efforts to encourage the practice of health inequality monitoring. Health inequality monitoring systems use disaggregated data to identify disadvantaged subgroups within populations and inform equity-oriented health policies, programs, and practices. Objective: This paper provides an overview of a number of recent and current WHO initiatives related to health inequality monitoring at the global and/or national level. Design: We outline the scope, content, and intended uses / application of the following: Health Equity Monitor database and theme page; State of inequality: reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health report; Handbook on health inequality monitoring: with a focus on low- and middle-income countries; Health inequality monitoring eLearning module; Monitoring health inequality: an essential step for achieving health equity advocacy booklet and accompanying video series; and capacity building workshops conducted in WHO Member States and Regions. Conclusions: The paper concludes by considering how the work of the WHO can be expanded upon to promote the establishment of sustainable and robust inequality monitoring systems across a variety of health topics among Member States and at the global level. Copyright: 2015 World Health Organization. Open Access.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center, MEASURE Evaluation, 2017 Jan. 18 p. (Working Paper WP-17-171; USAID Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-L-14-00004)In 2011, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) published its Evaluation Policy. The policy emphasizes the need to conduct more evaluations of its programs to ensure greater accountability and learning, and it outlines best practices and requirements for conducting evaluations. Since releasing the policy, USAID has commissioned an increasing number of evaluations of its programs. The importance of evaluations for international public health programs has been long recognized, with demand for such evaluations coming from both internal and external sources. Donors or those external to program implementation seek evidence of accomplishments and accountability for resources spent, whereas those involved in program implementation seek evidence to inform and improve program design. Within USAID, the need for more evaluations was driven by the understanding that evaluations provide information and analysis that prevent mistakes from being repeated and increase the likelihood of greater yield from future investments. Finally, there is overall recognition that evaluations should be of high quality and driven by demand, and that results should be communicated to relevant stakeholders. Despite the increased demand for evaluations, there is limited evaluation capacity in many countries where international development programs are implemented. Before strategies to strengthen evaluation capacity can be implemented, it is important first to assess existing evaluation capacity and develop action plans accordingly. We conducted a review of existing assessment tools and guidance documents related to assessing organizations’ capacity to carry out evaluations of international public health programs in order to determine the adequacy of those materials. Here, we summarize the key findings of our review of the literature and provide recommendations for the development of future tools and guidance documents.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2017. 56 p.The WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance is the first international framework of its kind, it fills an important gap. The goal of the guideline development project was to help policymakers and practitioners navigate the ethical issues presented by public health surveillance. This document outlines 17 ethical guidelines that can assist everyone involved in public health surveillance, including officials in government agencies, health workers, NGOs and the private sector. Surveillance, when conducted ethically, is the foundation for programs to promote human well-being at the population level. It can contribute to reducing inequalities: pockets of suffering that are unfair, unjust and preventable cannot be addressed if they are not first made visible. But surveillance is not without risks for participants and sometimes poses ethical dilemmas. Issues about privacy, autonomy, equity, and the common good need to be considered and balanced, and knowing how to do so can be challenging in practice.