Candidate viral diseases for elimination or eradication.
This article discusses the possibilities for elimination or eradication of four viral diseases--measles, hepatitis B, rubella and yellow fever. (+info)
The efforts of WHO and Pugwash to eliminate chemical and biological weapons--a memoir.
The World Health Organization and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Nobel Peace Prize 1995) have been involved in questions concerning chemical and biological arms since the early 1950s. This memoir reviews a number of milestones in the efforts of these organizations to achieve the elimination of these weapons through international treaties effectively monitored and enforced for adherence to their provisions. It also highlights a number of outstanding personalities who were involved in the efforts to establish and implement the two major treaties now in effect, the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. (+info)
Medical surveillance of multinational peacekeepers deployed in support of the United Nations Mission in Haiti, June-October 1995.
BACKGROUND: Multinational peacekeepers, both military and civilian, often deploy to areas of the world where significant health threats are endemic and host country public health systems are inadequate. Medical surveillance of deployed personnel enables leaders to better direct health care resources to prevent and treat casualties. Over a 5-month period, June to October 1995, a medical surveillance system (MSS) was implemented in support of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH). Information obtained from this system as well as lessons learned from its implementation and management may help decrease casualty rates during future multinational missions. METHODS: Over 90% of UNMIH personnel (80% military from over 11 countries and 20% civilian from over 70 countries) stationed throughout Haiti participated in the MSS. A weekly standardized reporting form included the number of new outpatient visits by disease and non-battle injury (DNBI) category and number of personnel supported by each participating UN medical treatment facility (MTF). Previously, medical reporting consisted of simple counts of patient visits without distinguishing between new and follow-up visits. Weekly incidence rates were determined and trends compared within and among reporting sites. The diagnoses and numbers of inpatient cases per week were only monitored at the 86th Combat Support Hospital, the facility with the most sophisticated level of health care available to UN personnel. RESULTS: The overall outpatient DNBI incidence rate ranged from 9.2% to 13% of supported UN personnel/week. Of the 14 outpatient diagnostic categories, the three categories consistently with the highest rates included orthopaedic/injury (1.6-2.5%), dermatology (1.3-2.2%), and respiratory (0.9-2.2%) of supported UN personnel/week. The most common inpatient discharge diagnoses included suspected dengue fever (22.3%), gastro-enteritis (15%), and other febrile illness (13.5%). Of the 249 patients who presented with a febrile illness, 79 (32%) had serological evidence of recent dengue infection. Surveillance results helped lead to interventions that addressed issues related to field sanitation, potable water, food preparation and vector control. CONCLUSIONS: Despite hurdles associated with distance, language, and communications, the MSS was a practical and effective tool for UNMIH force protection. UN requirements for standardized medical surveillance during deployments should be developed and implemented. Furthermore, planners should recognize that if ongoing medical surveillance and related responses are to be effective, personnel should be trained prior to deployment and resources dedicated to a sustained effort in theatre. (+info)
Counselling on breastfeeding: assessing knowledge and skills.
Reported are the results of a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of the WHO/UNICEF 40-hour course "Breastfeeding counselling: a training course". The course was conducted in a maternity hospital which provides care to a low-income population in a metropolitan area in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Health workers from 60 health units were randomly assigned to be either participants (20) or controls (40), and their breastfeeding knowledge and skills were assessed before and immediately after the course, as well as 3 months later. Immediately after the course the participants' knowledge of breastfeeding had increased significantly compared to controls. Both their clinical and counselling skills also improved significantly. When assessed 3 months later, the scores remained high with only a small decrease. The implementation of the course was also evaluated. The methods used were participatory observation, key interviews and focus group discussion. In the 33 sessions of the course, the average score was 8.43 out of 10. Scores were highest for content and methodology of the theory sessions, and lowest for "use of time", "clinical management of lactation", and "discussion of clinical practice". "Breastfeeding counselling: a training course" therefore effectively increases health workers' knowledge and their clinical and counselling skills for the support of breastfeeding. The course can be conducted adequately using the material and methodology proposed, but could be more satisfactory if the time allocated to exercises and clinical practice sessions were increased. (+info)
United nations estimates of HIV prevalence in Zambia under attack.(5/298)
Integrated management of childhood illness: a summary of first experiences.
The strategy of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) aims to reduce child mortality and morbidity in developing countries by combining improved management of common childhood illnesses with proper nutrition and immunization. The strategy includes interventions to improve the skills of health workers, the health system, and family and community practices. This article describes the experience of the first countries to adopt and implement the IMCI interventions, the clinical guidelines dealing with the major causes of morbidity and mortality in children, and the training package on these guidelines for health workers in first-level health facilities. The most relevant lessons learned and how these lessons have served as a basis for developing a broader IMCI strategy are described. (+info)
UN warns that AIDS deaths are set to reach record level.(7/298)
Reducing perinatal HIV transmission in developing countries through antenatal and delivery care, and breastfeeding: supporting infant survival by supporting women's survival.
In 1998, a joint UNAIDS/UNICEF/WHO working group announced an initiative to pilot test an intervention to reduce perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), based on new guidelines on HIV and infant feeding. This intervention for developing countries includes short-course perinatal zidovudine (AZT) treatment and advice to HIV-positive women not to breastfeed their infants, where this can be done safely. The present paper raises questions about the extent of the public health benefit of this intervention, even though it may be cost-effective, due to the limited capacity of antenatal and delivery services to implement it fully. It argues that it is necessary to provide universal access to replacement feeding methods and support in their safe use, not only for women who have tested HIV-positive during pregnancy, but also for untested women who may also decide not to breastfeed, some of whom may be infected with HIV or may acquire HIV during the breastfeeding period. It further argues that additional funding, more staff, staff training, and improved capacity and resources are also needed to integrate this intervention successfully into antenatal and delivery care. The intervention will prevent some infants from getting HIV even in the absence of many of these changes. However, a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and care in developing countries that includes both women and infants would promote better health and survival of women, which would in turn contribute to greater infant health and survival. If combination antiretroviral therapy in the latter part of pregnancy and/or during the breastfeeding period can be shown to be safe for infants, preliminary evidence suggests that it might reduce perinatal HIV transmission as effectively as the current intervention and, in addition, might allow the practice of breastfeeding to be preserved. (+info)