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Communicable Diseases


The goal of the Unit of Communicable Diseases is to strengthen national capabilities to implement effective preventive, therapeutic and control programs which are technically feasible, economically viable, and socially acceptable. The Unit of Communicable Diseases promotes the development of the infrastructure of clinical and laboratory field operations including epidemiological analysis, surveillance systems, vector biology, control activities and operational research to reduce the burden caused by communicable diseases in the Region.

    Its WHO counterparts are:
  • the Division of Control of Tropical Diseases,
  • the Division of Diarrhoeal and Acute Respiratory Diseases
  • the Division of Emerging and Other Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Control
  • the Global Tuberculosis Programme
  • the Action Programme for the Elimination of Leprosy
  • the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases


  • to strengthen national and local capabilities to detect and analyze changes in the frequency and distribution of common, new emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and to implement proper prevention and control activities;
  • to support member countries in the process of elimination of leprosy, onchocerciasis, non-venereal treponematosis, and Chagas' disease vectorial transmission;
  • to collaborate with the Regional efforts to control blood transfusion transmitted infectious agents;
  • to develop, in cooperation with national counterparts, cost-effective measures to prevent and control childhood diseases, particularly diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections;
  • to implement the Global Malaria Control Strategy based on administrative and programatic integration of especialized services into the local level;
  • to foster the development of applied research in support of prevention and control activities.

Strategies and Lines of Action

Resource Mobilization

Efforts are undertaken to promote and support the collaboration/cooperation among governmental, non-govermental, national, international, and other development agencies to mobilize resources for the prevention and control of communicable diseases. HCT has cooperated with different partners to strengthen national infrastructure for disease control.


Training activities are promoted and supported for the development of human resources at national and local levels for the establishment of a Regional network, aimed at disease prevention and control. Emphasis is placed on epidemiological analysis and development of political and technical interventions for prevention and control of communicable diseases. Training is carried out for clinical case management, program management at the local level and use of standard guidelines for prevention and control activities.

Disemination of Information

The production, collection, analysis of information and development of basic guidelines, which are relevant to the distribution, determinants and control of communicable diseases are supported.

Promotion of Research

HCT promotes and coordinates research directed to obtaining information on the status and trends of relevant diseases and their determinants throughout the Region. Priority is given to support operational research to evaluate products, strategies and procedures for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and control of communicable diseases.

Policies, Plans and Norms

Technical cooperation is directed to reach international norms for the formulation, implementation and evaluation of National and Regional policies and planning programs for the prevention, control and elimination of communicable diseases.

Direct Technical Cooperation

Collaboration with national counterparts in the development, implementation and management of control/elimination programs at different levels.

Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663

Pan American Health Organization. All rights reserved.