San Salvador, June 20, 2012 — A team from the Regional Program for Neglected Infectious Diseases (NIDs) of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), together with staff from the Ministry of Health (MINSAL), evaluated the National Plan for the Prevention, Control, and Elimination of NIDs, the progress of the prevalence study “Geohelminth Infection and Malaria,” and advances in the implementation of the malaria elimination strategy. They also confirmed major progress in the area of vector-borne diseases.
The evaluation, conducted during the week of 11-14 June, was conducted by Dr. Martha Idali Saboyá and María Paz Ade from the regional PAHO team, who visited a number of offices and program coordinators involved in the implementation of the National Plan. They also made a field visit to the Cara Sucia health unit in the department of Ahuachapán, an ECO Familiar (community family health unit), and the home of a malaria volunteer.
The evaluation revealed significant progress in the program at the national level, as well as opportunities and actions needed as soon as possible, including completion of the standards and guidelines for vector-borne diseases such as malaria.
Other PAHO recommendations include updating the guidelines for managing and treating febrile cases, with treatment administered in microscopy-confirmed cases, and evaluating medicines and their availability to prevent a drawdown in inventory.
Dr. Miguel Aragón, Adviser on Health Surveillance and Disease Prevention and Control at the PAHO/WHO Representative Office in El Salvador, mentioned that the evaluation report has led to meetings with the Ministry of Health’s Director of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Eduardo Suárez Castaneda, and a technical team from the ministry to implement the PAHO/WHO recommendations on radical treatment of malaria and to discuss other topics such as rapid progress toward finalizing the standards for vector-borne diseases.
At the meeting, the parties agreed to prepare a technical communiqué on malaria that includes all recommendations for treatment, diagnosis, vector control, and surveillance.
The evaluation was sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency through its project “Improved Health and Increased Protection from Communicable Diseases (IHIPCD) for Women, Children and Excluded Populations in Latin America and the Caribbean.”