The course Leishmaniasis en las Américas: Diagnóstico y Tratamiento (Leishmaniasis in the Americas: Diagnosis and Treatment) is an initiative of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in partnership with BIREME and the Virtual Campus for Public Health (VCPH) to train health professionals that work at different levels of care and educational training at undergraduate and graduate levels.
This course is expected to help strengthen diagnostic and clinical management actions for patients with leishmaniasis, a disease considered a serious public health issue due to morbidity and mortality and geographic expansion, resulting from social, economic, and environmental processes and determinants. In the Americas, leishmaniasis causes a set of clinical manifestations in humans that can affect the skin, mucous membranes, and viscera.
Among the control actions aimed at human beings, the importance of early diagnosis and adequate treatment of affected people stands out; in addition, the need to maintain follow-up of cases is emphasized, mainly because several of the drugs routinely used are for systemic use and present liver, cardiac, and renal toxicity. In addition, some of the clinical forms can develop severe and mutilating variants such as mucosal leishmaniasis, as well as causing death in patients who develop the visceral form of the disease.
In this regard, PAHO has been supporting endemic countries in the Region to achieve the objectives of controlling and eliminating leishmaniasis as a public health problem, in accordance with the goals proposed in the PAHO Disease Elimination Initiative and in the World Health Organization (WHO) Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases 2021-2030.
In line with this strategy, PAHO, through the Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health and the Unit for Neglected, Tropical and Vector-Transmitted Diseases (CDE – VT), in partnership with BIREME and the Virtual Campus for Public Health (VCPH), developed a project to update all the resources involving the course previously available.
The modality of self-instructional courses, in open access and available on the VCPH Moodle platform, has provided an effective response to this process and, consequently, has generated a considerable amount of Open Educational Resources (OER) such as: video lessons, audios, animations, and selection of reference documents from the Virtual Health Library (VHL) specific to each theme. BIREME’s role consisted in the pedagogical guidance of the instructional design and monitoring of activities related to the project, creating the thematic library aligned with the course.
On the part of the CDE-VT/PAHO/WHO unit, specialists in leishmaniasis renewed the project to update the technical and didactic content considering the new Guidelines for the Treatment of Leishmaniasis in the Region of the Americas. The course (in Spanish language) will soon be available at the Virtual Campus.
The proposal to update the course Leishmaniasis en las Américas: Diagnóstico y Tratamiento (Module I and Module II), in its Spanish version, involves updating the necessary treatment guidelines and technological fit. In addition, it allows participants from numerous users at a reduced operating cost, when compared to the preparation and scope of face-to-face courses.
The launch of the course was mentioned in the webinar promoted by PAHO/WHO on June 28, Directrices para el tratamiento de las Leishmaniasis en la Región de las Américas, which featured recognized experts from the Organization and research institutions in the Americas region. The recording is available on PAHO’s YouTube Channel.