[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the Latin America and Caribbean region over 210 million people live below the poverty line. These impoverished and marginalized populations are heavily burdened with neglected communicable diseases. These diseases continue to enact a toll, not only on families and communities, but on the economically constrained countries themselves.
As national public health priorities, neglected communicable diseases typically maintain a low profile and are often left out when public health agendas are formulated. While many of the neglected diseases do not directly cause high rates of mortality, they contribute to an enormous rate of morbidity and a drastic reduction in income for the most poverty-stricken families and communities. The persistence of this "vicious cycle" between poverty and poor health demonstrates the importance of linking the activities of the health sector with those of other sectors such as education, housing, water and sanitation, labor, public works, transportation, agriculture, industry, and economic development.
The purpose of this paper is three fold. First, it focuses on a need for integrated "pro-poor" approaches and policies to be developed in order to more adequately address the multi-faceted nature of neglected diseases. This represents a move away from traditional disease-centered approaches to a holistic approach that looks at the overarching causes and mechanisms that influence the health and well being of communities. The second objective of the paper outlines the need for a specific strategy for addressing these diseases and offers several programmatic entry points in the context of broad public health measures involving multiple sectors. Finally, the paper presents several current Pan American Health Organization and other institutional initiatives that already document the importance of integrated, inter-programmatic, and inter-sectoral approaches. They provide the framework for a renewed effort toward the efficient use of resources and the development of a comprehensive integrated solution to neglected communicable diseases found in the context of poverty, and tailored to the needs of local communities.
BMC Public Health 02/2007; 7:6. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Latin America, comprehensive health promotion programmes and activities are being implemented in the school setting, which take into account the conceptual framework of the Health-Promoting Schools Regional Initiative of the Pan American Health Organization, Regional office of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). These programmes help to strengthen the working relationships between the health and education sectors. The Health-Promoting Schools Regional Initiative, officially launched by PAHO/WHO in 1995, aims to form future generations to have the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary for promoting and caring for their health and that of their family and community, as well as to create and maintain healthy environments and communities. The Initiative focuses on three main components: comprehensive health education, the creation and maintenance of healthy physical and psychosocial environments, and the access to health and nutrition services, mental health, and active life. In 2001, PAHO conducted a survey in 19 Latin American countries to assess the status and trends of Health-Promoting Schools in the Region, for the appropriate regional, subregional, and national planning of pertinent health promotion and health education programmes and activities. The results of this survey provided information about policies and national plans, multisectoral coordination mechanisms for the support of health promotion in the school settings, the formation and participation in national and international networks of Health-Promoting Schools and about the level of dissemination of the strategy. For the successful development of Health-Promoting Schools is essential to involve the society as a whole, in order to mobilise human resources and materials necessary for implementing health promotion in the school settings. Thus, the constitution and consolidation of networks has been a facilitating mechanism for the exchange of ideas, resources and experiences to strengthen the work and commitment of all involved with the strategy. The Latin American and Caribbean Networks of Health-Promoting Schools were created to promote these exchanges and to support the integration of the national networks, to constitute multidirectional channels of communication that are linked and that converge for the improvement of education and health in the school setting. Networks meetings have been held between 1996 and 2004, where the work and topics of priority and interest have been addressed, methodologies have been disseminated, good practices have been shared, and National Commissions and participants have been strengthened. This article synthesises successful examples of countries that reflect health promotion activities in the school settings, as well as the development of Networks. It also notes the future prospects for strengthening the Health-Promoting Schools Regional Initiative.