Mass gatherings represent some of the most complex management challenges faced by a government. Depending on the nature of the gathering, they may involve the travel of people across countries and continents, which represent an additional potential risk of dissemination of diseases. Organized mass gatherings that are planned in advance offer the host city, region or country the possibility to prepare for detecting and responding to potential health threats. Such integrated planning is extremely important to minimize that threat. (1)
Today, cervical cancer remains a significant cause of mortality among women globally – it is the third cause of death among all types of cancer – even though it has a high-demonstrated potential for secondary prevention. It is a preventable and curable disease, at low cost and low risk, when screening of asymptomatic women is available, together with appropriate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Yet prevention programs in Latin America and the Caribbean have met with limited or no success. (1)
One of the Pan American Health Organization's core mandates is to collect and disseminate information on health conditions and trends in the countries and territories of the Americas. Beginning in the mid-1920s, the Organization began including such information within the pages of the Annual Report of the Director.
In 1954 PAHO broke new ground by issuing its first comprehensive report exclusively devoted to tracking and analyzing the Region's health situation. Every four years since then, PAHO has continued to publish Health in the Americas. It has become the Organization's flag-ship publication, informing Member Governments on public health issues critical to policy development and decision-making.
Obesity and diabetes are affecting the peoples of the Americas at high and increasing rates. National surveys demonstrate that obesity is increasing in prevalence among all age groups. Studies in Chile (2000) and Mexico (2007) have shown that 7% to 12% of children under 5 years old and one-fifth of adolescents are obese (1), while in adults, surveys carried out between 2002 and 2007 in Central America and Belize, for example, have shown rates of overweight and obesity close to 60% (2), (3), (4).
The XVIII World Congress of Epidemiology took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from 22 to 24 September, 2008. It was one of the most attended world congresses of Epidemiology in the history of the event, with more than 7,000 participants. On another historical note, it marked the 25 anniversary of the Seminar organized by PAHO in 1983 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which paved the way towards the future of the practice of epidemiology in the Americas. This year, PAHO is also celebrating the 20 years of the publication “The Challenge of Epidemiology,” an unprecedented contribution of the Organization to public health.
Epidemiologists, health planners, and administrators from countries throughout the Americas Region, among others, met at a seminar in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 1983, to discuss and analyze the role of epidemiology in the developing countries of the Western Hemisphere. After formulating and analyzing ideas and initiatives on the use and future prospects of epidemiology in Latin America, the participants made important recommendations for adjusting epidemiology's practice to current needs.
On 4 September 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a group of experts to analyze the classification of areas within the countries representing a risk of transmission of yellow fever, in order to address the concern shared by many countries of limiting prevention measures to population groups and travelers really at risk.
After an extensive revision process, the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted on 23 May 2005 the revised International Health Regulations or IHR (2005).
The purpose of the revised IHR (2005) is to "prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
The successful implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR), over the next five years, with the technical support of WHO, by all the countries who committed themselves to meet the new requirements of the Regulations will contribute significantly to enhancing national, regional and global public health security.
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Editor in Chief: Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva
Editor: Dr. Patricia L. Ruiz
PAHO’s Epidemiological Bulletin is published quarterly in English and Spanish. Catalogued and indexed by the United States National Library of Medicine. ISSN 0256-1859.
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