Prevención y Control de Enfermedades / Enfermedades Transmisibles / Enfermedades Emergentes y Reemergentes

IIIrd Meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Central American Network for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases (RECACER)

(Panama City, Panama, 21–22 August 2003)

Final Report (in Spanish, 16 pp, PDF, 327 KB; links in the Table of Contents to chapters listed below; titles translated for user orientation)

EER, Cono Sur

I. Opening Session
II. Progress Made in Compliance with Agreements

- Central American Plan to Prevent Dengue
- Regional Coordination of INFOCOM
- Table 1: Initial and Proposed Modules for INFOCOM Portals
- Country Reports
- Presentation of PRE-RESSCAD XIX Agreement
- Recommendations
- Status of Health Services: The Guatemalan Experience

III. Report on Commitments Made by the Countries
- Subregional Plan on Dengue
- Health Services to Prevent and Control Epidemics for the Next Two Years
- Information Exchange and Dissemination via the INFOCOM Platform

IV. Status Report and Recent Activities Related to EIDs in the World and the Subregion
V. Strategies and Actions in Panama to Facilitate and Increase Systematic Exchange of Data and Information of Epidemiological Interest
VI. Geographical Information System: Public-Health Use
VII. Presentation of Proposal to Create a Public-Health Laboratory Working Group for RECACER
VIII. Challenges and Opportunities in Preparedness, Epidemiological Surveillance, and Epidemic Control in the Countries

IX. Final Agreements
- General Agreements
- Syndromic Surveillance
- Dengue
- Disease Reporting and Alerts
- Dissemination of Laboratory Information
- Laboratory Supplies
- Subregional Technical Group on Laboratories
- Risk Communication

Objetives

  • Examine the progress made by the countries of the subregion in the area of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases (EIDs).
  • Update knowledge on EIDs.
  • Strengthen working ties between countries of the region to successfully face communicable diseases, especially EIDs.

The creation of RECACER was in response to the interests of the Central American countries that, since 1992, have been working to improve their response capacity for communicable diseases of the countries and the subregion. After Hurricane Mitch, and based on the vulnerability felt by the countries, a new era began with activities to stimulate capacity-building in each one of the countries and in the subregion as a whole.

RECACER, counting on support of subregional political bodies (RESSCAD and COMISCA), was created in May 2001 with the goal of facilitating the harmonization of practices and procedures, information exchange, and the coordination and activities to prevent and control epidemics. A Technical Group (Grupo Técnico Nacional, or GTN) was created in each country, coordinated by the Ministry of Health and with representatives from various institutions of the governmental and non-governmental sectors.

A Coordinating Committee made up the chiefs of epidemiological units and the directors of national public-health laboratories was created for inter-country activities. The Committee participates in annual meetings as representatives of the respective countries (not as area specialists) to identify common needs and make proposals for technical cooperation among countries. In this way, RECACER is an operational body whose objectives are linked to intra-institutional efforts in the countries and to their interaction via an operational network.

Finally, there was a recognition of the importance of PAHO's interprogrammatic work in support of country activities, to better coordinate their response to EIDs. Also recognized was the work of professionals from other projects and technical areas, such as Laboratories and Analysis of Health Information.

The recent experience with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has provided the most palpable justification for this PAHO/WHO initiative, given that it allowed for joint work to ensure adequate compliance with public-health objectives—especiallyi timely epidemiological surveillance at all levels. All the countries in this subregion are conscious of the threat of diseases of epidemic potential and the need to fact them together. SARS proved to be a clear example of the usefulness of this network, one of whose products is capacity-building in dealing with epidemics in the countries through coordination between epidemiologists and laboratory personnel.

At the meeting in Managua last June, the success of this strategy allowed for resource mobilization and the implementation of activities aimed keeping SARS out of the countries. West Nile Virus could represent a similar threat.

Subregional surveillance networks   | Emerging/Reemerging Diseases