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Health Surveillance and Disease Prevention and Control / Communicable Diseases / Parasitic and Neglected Diseases

Workshop on Geohelminth Control in the Countries of Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic

(Copán Ruinas, Honduras, 24–26 July 2007)

vulnerable populations
Final Report (in Spanish, PDF, 25 pp, 283 Kb; chapter headings translated below for user orientation)
- Background | History
- Justification | Objectives
- Methodology
- Participating Countries
- Description Procedure
- Content Topics
- Situation Analysis of Geohelminth Infection in the Participating Countries

- Guatemala
- El Salvador
- Panama

- Costa Rica
- Honduras

- Preliminary National Deparasitization/Deworming Plans

- Guatemala
- El Salvador
- Panama

- Costa Rica
- Honduras

- Conclusions | Discussion
- Review of Objectives
- Recommendations
- References | Annexes
Annex 1: Agenda
Annex 2: List of Documents Distributed
Annex 3: List of Participants

PAHO Links
- Parasitic Diseases
- Neglected Diseases
- Regional Program

WHO Links
- Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Partners in Parasite Control (PPC)
- Schistomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Parasite Infections: Preliminary Estimates of the Number of Children Treated with Albendazole or Mebendazole (WER, No. 16, 2006, 81, 145–164)
- Schistosomiasis
- Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic
- Tropical Disease Research

At present, two billion people are affected globally by geohelminth infections and 300 million live in a state of severe illness, which can lead to permanent disability. These parasitic diseases much are more frequent in women, children, marginal populations, and those living in extreme poverty, as well as in itinerant workers. Given the negative impact of these parasitic diseases, it is important to have initiatives for their control and prevention.

Objectives | Participating Countries | Content | Recommendations

General Objective: Explore opportunities for implementating or expanding deparasitization/deworming programs for in the countries of Central America, Panama, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic as proposed in Resolution 54.19 on Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections from the 2001 World Health Assembly.

Specific Objectives

  1. Raise awareness among government officials of the aforementioned Resolution and provide technical assistance to the Ministries of Health to achieve its objectives.
  2. Share PAHO/WHO resources and tools with the countries so that they can develop or extend deparatization/deworming program coverage and their possible linkages with other public health programs.
  3. Assess the utilization of other resources from laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in the region.
  4. Contribute information in a context of geohelminth infection control and its impact on health.
  5. Present a brief analysis of the current epidemiological situation regarding geohelminth infection in each country (prevalence, parasitic burden, coverage of deparasitization/deworming programs), as well as the current status of these programs and auxiliary interventions (health education, improvements in water supplies and sanitation, etc.).
  6. Prepare, present, and discuss a draft of a national action plan to achieve the objectives of Resolution 54.19. If there is already an action plan, present it and to assess the possibility of strengthening it.

Participating Countries: Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama.


  1. The first section consisted of a presentation of the topics addressed in this workshop, which included the epidemiology of geohelminth infections, the effects that these have on the growth and development of school-age children, and emergency surgical interventions in cases of complicated parasitoses. In addition, it included a brief explanation of the context and objectives of Resolution 54.19 and PAHO's role as an advisory organization and one providing technical support in preparing, implementing, following up on, and evaluating proposals for intestinal parasite control. In view of the fact that one of the workshop's main objectives was the preparation/strengthening of national action plans based on such initiatives, this section also included information on techniques for diagnosing these parasitic diseases and for estimating/determining populations at risk. Examples were also presented on how to integrate deparasitization/deworming programs into other existing programs as a cost-effective strategy to ensure their success. At the same time, some of the partners in the region shared their experiences in the implementation of their own deparasitization/deworming programs. inally, as tool to prepare/strengthen the action plans, there was a presentation on the key components that a deparasitization/deworming program should include.
  2. The second section consisted of a summary analyzing the situation of geohelminth infections in each participating country.
  3. The third and last section consisted of a presentation of some of the innovative points that the participating countries have considered to include in their draft national action plans.


  • Participating Countries: They should take the action plan that has been developed strengthened back to the their respective countries and share it with their superiors, managers, or the highest possible authority. Once these action plans have been discussed with these authorities, the corresponding modifications should be made. Furthermore, any final components should be added and remaining details included. Finally, the countries should make sure that these action plans are implemented and that the short- and long-term goals established are reached.
  • PAHO: PAHO should take charge of monitoring these action plans and provide technical support for their implementation. In addition, PAHO should makes its best effort to facilitate the purchase or donation of anthelmintic drugs, as well as facilitate access to any remaining materials and resources necessary for carrying out the action plans, and faciliate training of laboratory technicians and those in charge of health education programs whenever possible. PAHO has been given the opportunity to suggest an interprogrammatic, intersectoral strategy wherever it can be cost-effective. Finally, PAHO should serves as mediator in the search for possible financial partners in the region who can help maintain the sustainability of the initiatives contained in these action plans.

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