Colombia Launches National Plan for the Elimination and Eradication of Communicable Diseases

Colombia Launches National Plan for the Elimination and Eradication of Communicable Diseases

Bogotá D.C., 10 May 2024. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia announced today the launch of the National Plan for the Elimination and Eradication of Communicable Diseases, a strategic initiative that seeks to strengthen public health and guarantee access to quality services for all citizens.

In 2019, Colombia, together with the Member States of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), approved the Disease Elimination Initiative. This Initiative aims to end more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions by 2030. These diseases include HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and various neglected tropical diseases, among others.

The National Plan for the Elimination and Eradication of Communicable Diseases of Minsalud focuses on consolidating progress in the elimination of communicable diseases and ensuring their sustainability, implementing effective strategies to prevent, control and eliminate priority diseases, and expanding access to health services, ensuring continuity of care and reducing the burden of morbidity and mortality.

"With this Plan, we emphasize the integration, efficiency and quality of services, with community participation, civil society organizations, scientific societies, academia, research groups, cooperating partners, among others, to guarantee people-centered care for individuals, families and communities," said the Minister of Health, Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo.

Additionally, it aligns with the Preventive, Predictive and Resolving Health Model, integrating inter-programmatic actions from public health programs, plans and strategies. Furthermore, it is framed within the Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS), signed between PAHO and the National Government in March 2024, and the efforts in Colombia to advance the One Health approach.

For Sylvain Aldighieri, Director of the Department of Prevention, Control and Elimination of Communicable Diseases at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), "The elimination of communicable diseases is crucial to improving the lives of communities in vulnerable situation on this continent, including indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. I applaud the decision of the Colombian authorities to adopt the Regional Elimination Initiative in the country under the One Health approach. Social and environmental determinants directly influence the health of populations. Poverty, lack of access to basic services, inequality and discrimination are crucial factors that must be addressed holistically, as Colombia is proposing."

The “One Health” Strategy

To achieve this plan, the proposed intervention strategies must be synergistically integrated with One Health. This multidisciplinary approach must address the social and environmental determinants of health, strengthening governance and the efficient use of resources.

To achieve these objectives, we must listen to communities, local leaders, and traditional experts. Their knowledge and experiences can provide valuable insights and contextualized solutions. We must work together to build bridges between medicine and the community.

For her part, Dr. Gina Tambini, PAHO/WHO Representative in Colombia, stated: "Colombia deserves congratulations for its launch, positioning itself as a reference in the Americas by being, along with Brazil, one of the first countries to implement a comprehensive plan of this magnitude. Ultimately, the elimination of communicable diseases in Colombia is not only a technical goal, but an ethical imperative. We are talking about the fundamental right to health for all people."

We hope that this initiative will benefit hundreds of thousands of people and families in our country who annually suffer from these diseases, are at risk of suffering from them, or suffer the consequences of stigma, discrimination and devastating economic effects, which also destabilize and threaten the sustainability of the health system.