Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública]]> http://www.scielosp.org/rss.php?pid=1020-498920050003&lang=en vol. 17 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielosp.org/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielosp.org <![CDATA[<B>The prevalence of Chagas' disease in puerperal women and congenital transmission in an endemic area of Peru</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVOS: Determinar la prevalencia de anticuerpos contra Trypanosoma cruzi en puérperas y la posible transmisión congénita de la enfermedad de Chagas en Arequipa, Perú, una zona donde esta enfermedad es endémica. MÉTODOS: Se estudió a las puérperas que dieron a luz entre diciembre de 2001 y julio de 2002 en tres hospitales (dos urbanos y uno rural) y cuatro centros de salud (tres rurales y uno urbano) del departamento de Arequipa, Perú. El estudio serológico comprendió el tamizaje de todas las puérperas para detectar anticuerpos contra T. cruzi mediante inmunofluorescencia indirecta (IFI); la prueba de inmunoadsorción enzimática (ELISA) y la titulación de anticuerpos IgG por IFI se usaron como pruebas confirmatorias. A las puérperas con seropositividad y a sus recién nacidos se les realizó la prueba de detección de anticuerpos IgM mediante IFI y se evaluó la presencia de infección mediante xenodiagnóstico (evaluada a los 30 y 60 días) y el micrométodo de Freilij. Los resultados se analizaron según la presencia del vector y de casos de enfermedad de Chagas en los lugares de nacimiento y de residencia de las puérperas. Dos neonatólogos evaluaron clínicamente a los recién nacidos para detectar anomalías y signos de enfermedad de Chagas congénita. RESULTADOS: La prevalencia general de enfermedad de Chagas en las 3 000 puérperas estudiadas fue de 0,73%; fue mayor en dos centros de salud ubicados en zonas rurales (2,2% en El Pedregal y 4,1% en La Joya) (P = 0,018) y la enfermedad estuvo asociada con el contacto directo previo con el vector (P < 0,05) y con el haber nacido en una zona considerada endémica (P < 0,01). Cuatro de las 20 puérperas con seropositividad (20%) tuvieron resultados positivos en el xenodiagnóstico. Ninguna conocía su estado de portadora de la infección y no se observaron síntomas o signos característicos de la enfermedad de Chagas aguda o crónica. En ninguna puérpera se detectaron anticuerpos IgM y solo un neonato (nacido de una madre sin parasitemia) presentó un título de IgM de 1/8, pero en los controles posteriores no se detectaron anticuerpos IgM o IgG. No se detectaron parásitos en la sangre de los neonatos por ninguno de los dos métodos empleados. De los 20 neonatos evaluados, uno tenía microcefalia y hepatoesplenomegalia y aunque tenía anticuerpos específicos IgG contra T. cruzi al nacer, estos desaparecieron a los dos meses; el crecimiento y el desarrollo de los demás recién nacidos fueron normales. CONCLUSIÓN: La prevalencia de enfermedad de Chagas en puérperas del departamento de Arequipa, Perú, es baja. No se encontraron casos de transmisión congénita intrauterina. Se recomienda diseñar estudios de detección prenatal que permitan evaluar a un mayor número de madres y en el que participen también las mujeres que dan a luz en sus domicilios.<hr/>OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of antibodies against Trypanosoma cruzi in puerperal women and to assess possible congenital transmission of Chagas' disease in the department of Arequipa, Peru, where the disease is endemic. METHODS: Women who had given birth between December 2001 and July 2002 in three hospitals (two urban and one rural) and four health centers (three rural and one urban) of the department of Arequipa, Peru, were studied. The serological study included screening all the puerperal women in order to detect antibodies against T. cruzi through indirect immunofluorescence (IIF), with confirmatory testing done with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing and the titration of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies by IIF. IIF tests to screen for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies were done with the seropositive women and their newborns, and infection was evaluated through xenodiagnosis (evaluated at 30 and 60 days) and the direct micromethod of Freilij et al. The results were analyzed in terms of the presence of the vector and of cases of Chagas' disease in the places where the puerperal women had been born and where they were living. Two neonatologists clinically evaluated the newborns in order to detect abnormalities and signs of congenital Chagas' disease. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of Chagas' disease in the 3 000 puerperal women studied was 0.73%. Prevalence was highest in two health centers located in rural areas (2.2% in El Pedregal and 4.1% in La Joya) (P = 0.018). The disease was associated with previous direct contact with the vector (P < 0.05) and with having been born in an area considered endemic (P < 0.01). Four (20%) of the 20 seropositive puerperal women were also positive by xenodiagnosis. However, none of the women was aware of her infectious carrier state, and none showed the characteristic symptoms or signs of acute or chronic Chagas' disease. IgM antibodies were not detected in any of the puerperal women. One neonate (whose mother did not have evidence of parasitemia) presented an IgM titer of 1/8, but in later controls neither IgM nor IgG antibodies were detected. Parasites were not detected in the blood of the neonates by either of the two testing methods used. Of the 20 neonates evaluated, one presented microcephaly and hepatosplenomegaly; although the child had specific IgG antibodies against T. cruzi at birth, the antibodies were not present at the age of two months. The growth and development of the other 19 newborns were normal. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of Chagas' disease in puerperal women of the department of Arequipa, Peru, is low. No cases of intrauterine congenital transmission were found. We recommend carrying out studies on prenatal detection that evaluate more mothers and in which women who give birth at home also participate. <![CDATA[<B>HIV prevention programs of nongovernmental organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean</B>: <B>the Global AIDS Intervention Network project</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper is to describe HIV prevention programs conducted by nongovernmental organizations (NGO) that are meeting this challenge. METHODS: One NGO undertaking HIV prevention programs was evaluated in each of the 23 countries participating in the Global AIDS Intervention Network (GAIN) Project throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. A two-stage selection process was used: (1) a search in databases and other information sources; (2) identification of NGOs that were best established and most actively engaged in HIV prevention activity. Executive directors were questioned about staffing, budget issues, populations served and barriers faced by these entities. RESULTS: The 23 NGOs conducted 58 direct-service programs and had been conducting HIV prevention activities for a mean of 8 years (SD = 4.45; range 1-18 years). Average annual program budget was US$ 205 393 (range: US$ 10 000 to US$ 1 440 000). The NGOs reported a mean of 4.5 full-time employees (range 0-15, SD = 4.7). Many relied on volunteers (median = 10, mean = 51, range 0-700, SD = 150) to conduct HIV prevention activities. The NGOs provided prevention services for the general community (82.6%), children and adolescents (34.8%) and men who have sex with men (30.4%). Activities conducted by NGOs included train-the-trainer activities (43.5%) and face-to-face prevention activities (34.8%). Obstacles cited included lack of funding (60.9%) and HIV-related stigma and discrimination (56.5%). CONCLUSION: The strategies used by NGOs to overcome barriers to prevention are a testament to their ingenuity and commitment, and serve as examples for NGOs in other world regions.<hr/>OBJETIVO: Describir los programas de prevención de la infección por VIH y el sida de algunas organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG). MÉTODOS: Estudiamos, en cada una de los 23 países que participan en el proyecto Global AIDS Intervention Network (GAIN) en América Latina y el Caribe, una ONG que lleva a cabo programas de prevención. La muestra se seleccionó mediante un proceso bietápico: 1) una búsqueda en bases de datos y otras fuentes; 2) la identificación de las ONG mejor establecidas y más activas en el campo de la prevención de la infección por VIH, según fuentes autorizadas. A los directores ejecutivos se les hizo preguntas acerca de los programas de prevención, el personal, los presupuestos, las poblaciones con las que trabajaban y las barreras a su trabajo. RESULTADOS: Las 23 ONG llevaban a cabo 58 programas de servicio directo y tenían un promedio de 8 años de estar proveyendo programas de prevención. El promedio anual del presupuesto era de US$ 205 393 (intervalo de US$ 10 000 a US$ 1 440 000), y el número promedio de empleados a tiempo completo era de 4,5 (intervalo de 0-15, DE = 4,7.) Muchas ONG dependían de los voluntarios para los programas de prevención (mediana = 10, promedio = 51, intervalo de 0-700, DE = 150). Las ONG ofrecían programas de prevención dedicados a la comunidad en general (82,6%), a jóvenes y adolescentes (34,8%), y a hombres que tienen relaciones sexuales con otros hombres (30,4%). Las actividades de las ONG consistían en entrenar a los entrenadores para todo tipo de actividades (43,5%) y en realizar programas de prevención cara a cara con los participantes (34,8%). Se citaron como obstáculos la falta de fondos (60,9%) y la discriminación y estigma relacionados con la infección por el VIH (56,5%). CONCLUSIONES: Las estrategias que emplean estas ONG para sobrepasar las barreras a la prevención son prueba de su inventiva y dedicación y sirven como ejemplo para las ONG en otras regiones del mundo. <![CDATA[<B>Smoking in households in Brazil with children younger than 5 years of age</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVO: Estimar a prevalência e identificar os principais determinantes da exposição ao tabagismo domiciliar em famílias com crianças menores de 5 anos. MÉTODOS: Estudo transversal, de base populacional, com 2 037 crianças e seus respectivos responsáveis na Cidade de Cuiabá, Estado de Mato Grosso, Brasil. Os pais ou responsáveis responderam um questionário contendo perguntas relacionadas ao hábito de fumar dos moradores, às características sociodemográficas da família e às suas condições de moradia. RESULTADOS: A prevalência de tabagismo domiciliar foi de 37,7%. Para os domicílios com renda per capita mensal de 2 ou mais salários mínimos, a prevalência de tabagismo foi de 24%,1, contra 31,3% nos domicílios com renda per capita mensal entre 1 e 1,9 salário mínimo e 46,0% nos domicílios com renda inferior a 1 salário mínimo. Quanto mais baixo o nível socioeconômico das famílias, maior a prevalência de tabagismo domiciliar (26,9%, 26,4%, 34,9%, 45,1% e 47,2% para as classes A, B, C, D e E, respectivamente). Maior prevalência também foi observada quando o pai não morava no domicílio (47,5 versus 35,5%), quando o chefe da família era uma pessoa diferente do pai ou da mãe (53,8 versus 33,9 e 38,8%) e quando o pai e a mãe tinham menos de 20 anos (46,1 versus 22,5% aos 40 anos para as mães e 52,5 versus 31,2% aos 40 anos para os pais). Em relação à ocupação, a menor prevalência de tabagismo no domicílio foi observada em profissionais de saúde e professores, tanto para mulheres (18,3%) quanto para homens (14,7%). Permaneceram associadas com o tabagismo no domicílio, após a regressão logística multivariada, a presença do pai no domicílio, a escolaridade e a ocupação do pai e da mãe, a idade da criança e a renda per capita mensal da família. CONCLUSÃO: O risco de exposição ao tabagismo domiciliar e, portanto, ao tabagismo passivo nesta amostra de crianças menores de 5 anos foi maior em famílias de menor nível socioeconômico.<hr/>OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of exposure to smoking in households with children younger than 5 years of age in the city of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil, and to identify the main determinants of that exposure. METHODS: This cross-sectional, population-based study included 2 037 families from the city of Cuiabá. The parents of the children or other caregivers answered a questionnaire concerning the smoking habits of people living in the household, sociodemographic characteristics of the household, and the household's living conditions. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of smoking in the households was 37.7%. In terms of income, in the households with a monthly per capita income of 2 minimum wages or more, the prevalence of smoking was 24.1%; it was 31.3% in the households with a monthly per capita income between 1 and 1.9 minimum wages; and it was 46.0% in households with a monthly per capita income below 1 minimum wage. With respect to socioeconomic level (the family's material goods and purchasing power and the educational level of the head of the household, divided into five classes, from A (highest) to E (lowest)), the higher the socioeconomic level, the lower was the prevalence of smoking in the household: 26.9% for class A, 26.4% for class B, 34.9% for class C, 45.1% for class D, and 47.2% for class E. There was a higher prevalence of smoking when the father did not live in the home (47.5% versus 35.5%), when the head of the family was someone other than the father or the mother (53.8% versus 33.9% and 38.8%, respectively), when the father was younger than 20 years (52.3% versus 31.2% for fathers 40 or older), and when the mother was younger than 20 years (46.1% versus 22.5% for mothers 40 or older). In terms of occupation, the lowest prevalence of household smoking was found with health professionals and teachers, for both women (18.3%) and men (14.7%). After multivariate logistic regression analysis, the following variables remained associated with household smoking: absence of the father from the household, maternal and paternal schooling, maternal and paternal occupation, child's age, and household monthly per capita income. CONCLUSION: The risk of exposure to household smoking (and thus to passive smoking) in this sample of children younger than 5 years of age was higher in households living in poorer socioeconomic conditions. <![CDATA[<B>Frequency and characteristics of selected enteropathogens in fecal and rectal specimens from childhood diarrhea in Trinidad</B>: <B>1998-2000</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of selected enteric pathogens in diarrheic children in six counties of the island of Trinidad. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted from April 1998 through March 2000. Fecal or rectal swab specimens from children (< 12 years) were collected and then processed, using standard methods, to detect Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), Campylobacter spp., Yersinia spp., Cryptosporidium parvum, and parasite ova. The antibiograms of the enteropathogens were determined using the disk diffusion method. RESULTS: A total of 236 samples were processed; 86 samples originated directly from 17 heath centers in two counties (St. George East and St. George West), while 150 samples were obtained from the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, having been submitted by private practitioners and personnel from six counties in Trinidad. Of the 236 samples, 33 (14.0%) were positive for Shigella, 4 (1.7%) for Salmonella, and 1 (0.4%) for EPEC. Two of the samples (0.8%) were positive for Campylobacter jejuni, while 1 sample (0.4%) was positive for hookworm ova. All the samples were negative for Cryptosporidium parvum and Yersinia spp. With the 86 samples collected directly from the health centers, in St. George East County the frequency of Shigella was 20.0% (12 of 60), compared with 26.9% (7 of 26) for samples from St. George West County, but the difference was not statistically significant (P > 0.05 with the chi-square test). For the 150 samples from the six counties that had been submitted directly to the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, 14 of them (9.3%) were positive for Shigella, a figure statistically significantly lower than that found with the samples sampled directly from the health centers (P < 0.05 with the chi-square test). Sh. sonnei was the predominant serotype detected, accounting for 28 of the 33 Shigella isolates (84.8%) recovered from the 236 samples. Overall, the frequency of detection of enteropathogens had no seasonal pattern nor relationship to the county of origin. Of the 37 isolates of Salmonella and Shigella tested for antimicrobial sensitivity, all of them were sensitive to ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, and cefotaxime. In terms of resistance, 3 of the 37 isolates (8.1%) exhibited resistance to ampicillin, 1 (2.7%) to chloramphenicol, and 1 (2.7%) to sulfamethoxazole/ trimethoprim. CONCLUSION: Of the enteropathogens for which assays were done, Shigella sonnei was the most prevalent, and it has the highest probability of being an important etiological agent of childhood diarrhea in Trinidad.<hr/>OBJETIVO: Determinar la frecuencia y las características de ciertos agentes enteropatógenos detectados en niños con diarrea en seis condados de la isla de Trinidad. MÉTODOS: El presente estudio transversal se llevó a cabo de abril de 1998 a marzo de 2000. Especímenes de heces o hisopados rectales de niños menores de 12 años se obtuvieron y se procesaron usando métodos estándarizados para la detección de Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Escherichia coli enteropatogénico (ECEP), Campylobacter spp., Yersinia spp., Cryptosporidium parvum, y huevos de parásitos. Los antibiogramas de los agentes enteropatógenos se determinaron mediante el método de difusión en un disco. RESULTADOS: Se procesaron 236 muestras en total; 86 de ellas provinieron directamente de 17 centros de salud en dos condados (St. George East y St. George West), mientras que las otras 150 muestras se obtuvieron del Laboratorio de Salud Pública de Trinidad, al que fueron entregadas por médicos particulares y el personal en seis condados de la isla. De las 236 muestras, 33 (14,0%) mostraron positividad a Shigella, 4 (1,7%) a Salmonella, y 1 (0,4%) a ECEP. Dos de las muestras (0,8%) mostraron positividad a Campylobacter jejuni, y una (0,4%) tenía huevos de anquilostoma. Ninguna muestra salió positiva a Cryptosporidium parvum ni a Yersinia spp. De las 86 muestras obtenidas directamente de los centros de salud, el porcentaje con Shigella fue de 20% (12 muestras de 60) en el condado de St. George East, en comparación con 26,9% (7 muestras de 26) en el condado de St. George West, sin que la diferencia fuese estadísticamente significativa (P > 0,05 según la prueba de ji al cuadrado). De las 150 muestras procedentes de los seis condados que habían sido entregadas directamente al Laboratorio de Salud Pública de Trinidad, 14 (9,3%) salieron positivas a Shigella. Este porcentaje fue más pequeño, en grado estadísticamente significativo, que el hallado en las muestras tomadas directamente de los centros de salud (P < 0,05 según la prueba de ji al cudrado). El serotipo más frecuente fue Sh. sonnei, que se observó en 28 de las 33 (84,8%) cepas de Shigella aisladas de las 236 muestras. En términos generales, la frecuencia con que se detectaron enteropatógenos no varió con las estaciones del año ni mostró ninguna relación con el país de origen. Las 37 cepas de Salmonella y Shigella que se sometieron a pruebas de sensibilidad fueron sensibles en su totalidad a la ciprofloxacina, la gentamicina y la cefotaxima. Tres de las 37 cepas aisladas (8,1%) fueron resistentes a la ampicilina, 1 (2,7%) al cloramfenicol y 1 (2,7%) a la combinación de sufametoxazol con trimetoprima. CONCLUSIÓN: De los enteropatógenos investigados mediante pruebas detectoras, Sh. sonnei fue el más frecuente y es, quizá, el principal agente causal de la diarrea infantil en Trinidad. <![CDATA[<B>The economic costs of pneumonia in children under 2 years of age in Colombia</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVOS: Analizar los costos de las neumonías presuntamente virales y bacterianas diagnosticadas por radiografía en centros de referencia de tres ciudades colombianas. MÉTODOS: Se estudiaron 128 casos de neumonía, 64 bacterianas y 64 virales, que ingresaron consecutivamente a los hospitales del estudio en Cartagena, Medellín y Santa Fe de Bogotá entre julio de 2001 y enero de 2003. Los diagnósticos de neumonía se fundamentaron en la radiografía de tórax y la población de estudio se compuso de niños menores de 2 años que requirieron hospitalización. Para estimar los costos de cada intervención se utilizó el método de determinación de costos por actividad para cada caso, después de lo cual se estimaron los costos medios. RESULTADOS: Los costos de las neumonías presuntamente bacterianas fueron de 611,50 dólares estadounidenses (US$) (IC95%, 532,20-690,80) y los de las presuntamente virales, de 472,20 US$ (IC95%, 331,80-612,60). Las diferencias observadas se explican por los costos directos, en particular de los medicamentos (antibióticos), servicios especiales y pruebas diagnósticas. Dada la similar procedencia de las familias de ambas poblaciones, los costos indirectos no mostraron diferencias y su participación en los costos totales no se consideró relevante. CONCLUSIONES: El estudio reveló diferencias en los costos de la atención de las neumonías presuntamente bacterianas y virales, y se aproximó a los costos indirectos generados por estas entidades patológicas. Tales diferencias permiten inferir que el método de diagnóstico utilizado, que fue la radiografía de tórax, tuvo la capacidad de diferenciar los sucesos de interés. Puesto que en la Región son escasos los estudios económicos que valoren los costos de la neumonía en niños, el presente puede servir de referencia para futuras investigaciones sobre el impacto de las intervenciones en las neumonías.<hr/>OBEJCTIVE: To analyze the costs of pneumonias presumed to be of viral or bacterial origin, as diagnosed by chest X ray, in four reference center hospitals in three cities in Colombia. METHODS: A total of 128 cases of pneumonia (64 bacterial cases and 64 viral cases) that had consecutively entered the hospitals in the study between July 2001 and January 2003 were investigated. The diagnosis of pneumonia was based on chest X rays. The study population was composed of children under 2 years of age who required hospitalization. In order to estimate the costs for bacterial pneumonias and viral pneumonias, the cost of each activity was determined for each case, and then average costs were calculated. RESULTS: The average cost of the presumably bacterial pneumonia cases was US$ 611.50 (95% confidence interval (95% CI), US$ 532.20-690.80); that of the presumably viral cases was US$ 472.20 (95% CI, US$ 331.80-612.60). The observed differences were due to direct expenses, especially drugs (antibiotics), special services, and diagnostic tests. In the two groups the families were similar in their incomes and the indirect costs that they had to bear, so the indirect costs were not considered relevant in terms of distinguishing between the costs caused by the two forms of pneumonia. CONCLUSIONS: The study found differences in the direct costs of care between the presumably bacterial cases and the presumably viral ones. The study results also gave an approximation of the indirect costs to the patients' families caused by the pneumonias. The differences found in the direct costs also indicate that X-ray diagnosis is useful for differentiating between viral and bacterial pneumonia. Few studies in Latin America have assessed the economic costs of pneumonia in children, so this study can serve as a reference for future research on the impact of interventions against pneumonia. <![CDATA[<B>Immunization coverage survey</B>: <B>empirical assessment of the cluster sampling method proposed by the World Health Organization</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBEJETIVO: Analisar a representatividade da amostra e a precisão das estimativas obtidas com o uso da metodologia por conglomerados (30 por 7) proposta pela Organização Mundial da Saúde mediante sua aplicação em inquéritos de cobertura vacinal realizados em Diadema e São Caetano do Sul, Estado de São Paulo, Brasil, em 2000. MÉTODO:A representatividade das amostras foi avaliada através da comparação entre os setores censitários sorteados para os inquéritos e os demais setores nos dois municípios em termos de características sociodemográficas (estrutura etária da população, escolaridade, proporção de famílias chefiadas por mulheres, renda mensal do chefe de família e condições de saneamento). A precisão das estimativas de cobertura pelas vacinas do esquema básico de vacinação (BCG; difteria, coqueluche e tétano, ou DPT; poliomielite; hepatite B; sarampo; e sarampo, caxumba e rubéola, ou tríplice viral) foi analisada através das medidas de efeito do desenho e amplitude dos intervalos de confiança. A precisão foi considerada como satisfatória quando o efeito do desenho foi inferior a 2,0 e a amplitude dos intervalos de confiança foi inferior a 10%. RESULTADOS: Em ambos os municípios, a comparação entre os setores sorteados e não sorteados mostrou distribuições semelhantes para as variáveis socioeconômicas e demográficas. Quanto à precisão das estimativas, tanto em Diadema quanto em São Caetano do Sul o efeito do desenho foi inferior a 2,0 para todas as vacinas. Em Diadema, os intervalos de confiança foram inferiores a 10% para todas as vacinas, com exceção da tríplice viral. Em São Caetano do Sul, como as crianças incluídas no inquérito representaram 89% da amostra prevista, a amplitude dos intervalos de confiança foi um pouco maior do que 10% para a vacina contra a poliomielite (10,3%), para a vacina contra o vírus da hepatite B (11,8%), para a vacina contra o sarampo (10,4%), para a tríplice viral (12,9%) e para o esquema completo (11,2%). CONCLUSÃO: O método de inquérito de cobertura vacinal proposto pela Organização Mundial da Saúde é capaz de fornecer dados representativos da população, desde que os procedimentos metodológicos de seleção da amostra sejam rigorosamente seguidos no campo.<hr/>OBJECTIVE: To assess sample representativeness and the precision of estimates of immunization coverage obtained with the 30 by 7 cluster sampling method proposed by the World Health Organization, by applying the method to determine immunization coverage in two municipalities (Diadema and São Caetano do Sul) in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, in 2000. METHOD: The representativeness of the samples was determined by comparing the census sectors picked by lot for the surveyed sectors and for the nonsurveyed sectors in both municipalities, in terms of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (age distribution of the population, schooling, proportion of households headed by a women, monthly income of household head, and sanitary conditions of the home (piped-in water, connected to the sewer system)). The precision of the coverage estimates for the vaccines in the basic immunization schedule-BCG; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT); poliomyelitis; hepatitis B; measles; and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)-was determined by calculating the design effect and the width of the confidence intervals. Precision was considered to be satisfactory if the design effect was below 2.0 and the confidence interval width was below 10%. RESULTS: In both municipalities the comparison between the surveyed and nonsurveyed sectors showed a similar distribution in terms of socioeconomic and demographic variables. Concerning the precision of the estimates, the design effect was below 2.0 for all the vaccines, both in São Caetano do Sul and Diadema. In Diadema, the confidence interval width was below 10% for all the vaccines, except for MMR (10.1%). In São Caetano do Sul, only 89% of the expected sample were included, so the width of the confidence interval was slightly above 10% for the poliomyelitis vaccine (10.3%), the hepatitis B vaccine (11.8%), the mumps vaccine (10.4%), the MMR (12.9%), and the complete schedule (11.2%). CONCLUSION: The cluster sampling method proposed by the World Health Organization produces representative data as long as the methodological procedures for selecting the sample are rigorously followed in the field. <![CDATA[<B>Asthma control in Latin America: the Asthma Insights and Reality in Latin America (AIRLA) survey</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVES: The aims of this survey were (1) to assess the quality of asthma treatment and control in Latin America, (2) to determine how closely asthma management guidelines are being followed, and (3) to assess perception, knowledge and attitudes related to asthma in Latin America. METHODS: We surveyed a household sample of 2 184 adults or parents of children with asthma in 2003 in 11 countries in Latin America. Respondents were asked about healthcare utilization, symptom severity, activity limitations and medication use. RESULTS: Daytime asthma symptoms were reported by 56% of the respondents, and 51% reported being awakened by their asthma at night. More than half of those surveyed had been hospitalized, attended a hospital emergency service or made unscheduled emergency visits to other healthcare facilities for asthma during the previous year. Patient perception of asthma control did not match symptom severity, even in patients with severe persistent asthma, 44.7% of whom regarded their disease as being well or completely controlled. Only 2.4% (2.3% adults and 2.6% children) met all criteria for asthma control. Although 37% reported treatment with prescription medications, only 6% were using inhaled corticosteroids. Most adults (79%) and children (68%) in this survey reported that asthma symptoms limited their activities. Absence from school and work was reported by 58% of the children and 31% of adults, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Asthma control in Latin America falls short of goals in international guidelines, and in many aspects asthma care and control in Latin America suffer from the same shortcomings as in other areas of the world.<hr/>OBJETIVOS: Los objetivos de esta encuesta fueron 1) determinar la calidad del tratamiento y control del asma en América Latina, 2) determinar el grado de adherencia a las guías de tratamiento, y 3) determinar la percepción, los conocimientos y las actitudes con respecto al asma en América Latina. MÉTODO: La encuesta se realizó en una muestra de hogares donde se entrevistó a 2 184 adultos asmáticos o padres de niños con asma en 11 países de América Latina. Se obtuvo información sobre la utilización de los recursos del sistema de salud, la gravedad de los síntomas, la limitación de actividades y el uso de medicamentos. RESULTADOS: El 56% de los encuestados refirió síntomas diurnos, y 51% mencionaron despertarse por la noche debido al asma. Más de la mitad habían sido hospitalizados o atendidos en salas de urgencia hospitalarias, o habían realizado consultas no programadas a cualquier otro nivel del sistema sanitario. La percepción del control del asma por parte de los pacientes no se corresponde con la gravedad de los síntomas, incluso en aquellos pacientes con asma persistente, ya que 44,7% de estos consideraban que el control de su enfermedad era bueno o total. Solo 2,4% de los pacientes (2,3% de los adultos y 2,6% de los niños) cumplían todos los criterios correspondientes a un control total del asma. Aunque 37% de los participantes refirieron haber sido tratados con algún medicamento adquirible por receta médica, solamente 6% utilizaban corticoesteroides inhalados. El 79% de los pacientes adultos y 68% de los niños con asma mencionaron que sus síntomas limitaban sus actividades de alguna manera. El 58% de los niños habían faltado al colegio, y 31% de los adultos habían faltado al trabajo debido al asma. CONCLUSIONES: Los niveles actuales de control del asma en América Latina distan mucho de los objetivos especificados por las guías internacionales para el manejo del asma, y en muchos aspectos referidos al cuidado y al control de la enfermedad se observan en América Latina las mismas carencias que en otras áreas del mundo. <![CDATA[<B>Propuesta para una distribución equitativa de recursos en el nordeste de México</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVES: The aims of this survey were (1) to assess the quality of asthma treatment and control in Latin America, (2) to determine how closely asthma management guidelines are being followed, and (3) to assess perception, knowledge and attitudes related to asthma in Latin America. METHODS: We surveyed a household sample of 2 184 adults or parents of children with asthma in 2003 in 11 countries in Latin America. Respondents were asked about healthcare utilization, symptom severity, activity limitations and medication use. RESULTS: Daytime asthma symptoms were reported by 56% of the respondents, and 51% reported being awakened by their asthma at night. More than half of those surveyed had been hospitalized, attended a hospital emergency service or made unscheduled emergency visits to other healthcare facilities for asthma during the previous year. Patient perception of asthma control did not match symptom severity, even in patients with severe persistent asthma, 44.7% of whom regarded their disease as being well or completely controlled. Only 2.4% (2.3% adults and 2.6% children) met all criteria for asthma control. Although 37% reported treatment with prescription medications, only 6% were using inhaled corticosteroids. Most adults (79%) and children (68%) in this survey reported that asthma symptoms limited their activities. Absence from school and work was reported by 58% of the children and 31% of adults, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Asthma control in Latin America falls short of goals in international guidelines, and in many aspects asthma care and control in Latin America suffer from the same shortcomings as in other areas of the world.<hr/>OBJETIVOS: Los objetivos de esta encuesta fueron 1) determinar la calidad del tratamiento y control del asma en América Latina, 2) determinar el grado de adherencia a las guías de tratamiento, y 3) determinar la percepción, los conocimientos y las actitudes con respecto al asma en América Latina. MÉTODO: La encuesta se realizó en una muestra de hogares donde se entrevistó a 2 184 adultos asmáticos o padres de niños con asma en 11 países de América Latina. Se obtuvo información sobre la utilización de los recursos del sistema de salud, la gravedad de los síntomas, la limitación de actividades y el uso de medicamentos. RESULTADOS: El 56% de los encuestados refirió síntomas diurnos, y 51% mencionaron despertarse por la noche debido al asma. Más de la mitad habían sido hospitalizados o atendidos en salas de urgencia hospitalarias, o habían realizado consultas no programadas a cualquier otro nivel del sistema sanitario. La percepción del control del asma por parte de los pacientes no se corresponde con la gravedad de los síntomas, incluso en aquellos pacientes con asma persistente, ya que 44,7% de estos consideraban que el control de su enfermedad era bueno o total. Solo 2,4% de los pacientes (2,3% de los adultos y 2,6% de los niños) cumplían todos los criterios correspondientes a un control total del asma. Aunque 37% de los participantes refirieron haber sido tratados con algún medicamento adquirible por receta médica, solamente 6% utilizaban corticoesteroides inhalados. El 79% de los pacientes adultos y 68% de los niños con asma mencionaron que sus síntomas limitaban sus actividades de alguna manera. El 58% de los niños habían faltado al colegio, y 31% de los adultos habían faltado al trabajo debido al asma. CONCLUSIONES: Los niveles actuales de control del asma en América Latina distan mucho de los objetivos especificados por las guías internacionales para el manejo del asma, y en muchos aspectos referidos al cuidado y al control de la enfermedad se observan en América Latina las mismas carencias que en otras áreas del mundo. <![CDATA[<B>¿Puede omitirse el desayuno sin perjuicio para la salud?</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVES: The aims of this survey were (1) to assess the quality of asthma treatment and control in Latin America, (2) to determine how closely asthma management guidelines are being followed, and (3) to assess perception, knowledge and attitudes related to asthma in Latin America. METHODS: We surveyed a household sample of 2 184 adults or parents of children with asthma in 2003 in 11 countries in Latin America. Respondents were asked about healthcare utilization, symptom severity, activity limitations and medication use. RESULTS: Daytime asthma symptoms were reported by 56% of the respondents, and 51% reported being awakened by their asthma at night. More than half of those surveyed had been hospitalized, attended a hospital emergency service or made unscheduled emergency visits to other healthcare facilities for asthma during the previous year. Patient perception of asthma control did not match symptom severity, even in patients with severe persistent asthma, 44.7% of whom regarded their disease as being well or completely controlled. Only 2.4% (2.3% adults and 2.6% children) met all criteria for asthma control. Although 37% reported treatment with prescription medications, only 6% were using inhaled corticosteroids. Most adults (79%) and children (68%) in this survey reported that asthma symptoms limited their activities. Absence from school and work was reported by 58% of the children and 31% of adults, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Asthma control in Latin America falls short of goals in international guidelines, and in many aspects asthma care and control in Latin America suffer from the same shortcomings as in other areas of the world.<hr/>OBJETIVOS: Los objetivos de esta encuesta fueron 1) determinar la calidad del tratamiento y control del asma en América Latina, 2) determinar el grado de adherencia a las guías de tratamiento, y 3) determinar la percepción, los conocimientos y las actitudes con respecto al asma en América Latina. MÉTODO: La encuesta se realizó en una muestra de hogares donde se entrevistó a 2 184 adultos asmáticos o padres de niños con asma en 11 países de América Latina. Se obtuvo información sobre la utilización de los recursos del sistema de salud, la gravedad de los síntomas, la limitación de actividades y el uso de medicamentos. RESULTADOS: El 56% de los encuestados refirió síntomas diurnos, y 51% mencionaron despertarse por la noche debido al asma. Más de la mitad habían sido hospitalizados o atendidos en salas de urgencia hospitalarias, o habían realizado consultas no programadas a cualquier otro nivel del sistema sanitario. La percepción del control del asma por parte de los pacientes no se corresponde con la gravedad de los síntomas, incluso en aquellos pacientes con asma persistente, ya que 44,7% de estos consideraban que el control de su enfermedad era bueno o total. Solo 2,4% de los pacientes (2,3% de los adultos y 2,6% de los niños) cumplían todos los criterios correspondientes a un control total del asma. Aunque 37% de los participantes refirieron haber sido tratados con algún medicamento adquirible por receta médica, solamente 6% utilizaban corticoesteroides inhalados. El 79% de los pacientes adultos y 68% de los niños con asma mencionaron que sus síntomas limitaban sus actividades de alguna manera. El 58% de los niños habían faltado al colegio, y 31% de los adultos habían faltado al trabajo debido al asma. CONCLUSIONES: Los niveles actuales de control del asma en América Latina distan mucho de los objetivos especificados por las guías internacionales para el manejo del asma, y en muchos aspectos referidos al cuidado y al control de la enfermedad se observan en América Latina las mismas carencias que en otras áreas del mundo. <![CDATA[<B>La salud de los inmigrantes hispanoamericanos</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVES: The aims of this survey were (1) to assess the quality of asthma treatment and control in Latin America, (2) to determine how closely asthma management guidelines are being followed, and (3) to assess perception, knowledge and attitudes related to asthma in Latin America. METHODS: We surveyed a household sample of 2 184 adults or parents of children with asthma in 2003 in 11 countries in Latin America. Respondents were asked about healthcare utilization, symptom severity, activity limitations and medication use. RESULTS: Daytime asthma symptoms were reported by 56% of the respondents, and 51% reported being awakened by their asthma at night. More than half of those surveyed had been hospitalized, attended a hospital emergency service or made unscheduled emergency visits to other healthcare facilities for asthma during the previous year. Patient perception of asthma control did not match symptom severity, even in patients with severe persistent asthma, 44.7% of whom regarded their disease as being well or completely controlled. Only 2.4% (2.3% adults and 2.6% children) met all criteria for asthma control. Although 37% reported treatment with prescription medications, only 6% were using inhaled corticosteroids. Most adults (79%) and children (68%) in this survey reported that asthma symptoms limited their activities. Absence from school and work was reported by 58% of the children and 31% of adults, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Asthma control in Latin America falls short of goals in international guidelines, and in many aspects asthma care and control in Latin America suffer from the same shortcomings as in other areas of the world.<hr/>OBJETIVOS: Los objetivos de esta encuesta fueron 1) determinar la calidad del tratamiento y control del asma en América Latina, 2) determinar el grado de adherencia a las guías de tratamiento, y 3) determinar la percepción, los conocimientos y las actitudes con respecto al asma en América Latina. MÉTODO: La encuesta se realizó en una muestra de hogares donde se entrevistó a 2 184 adultos asmáticos o padres de niños con asma en 11 países de América Latina. Se obtuvo información sobre la utilización de los recursos del sistema de salud, la gravedad de los síntomas, la limitación de actividades y el uso de medicamentos. RESULTADOS: El 56% de los encuestados refirió síntomas diurnos, y 51% mencionaron despertarse por la noche debido al asma. Más de la mitad habían sido hospitalizados o atendidos en salas de urgencia hospitalarias, o habían realizado consultas no programadas a cualquier otro nivel del sistema sanitario. La percepción del control del asma por parte de los pacientes no se corresponde con la gravedad de los síntomas, incluso en aquellos pacientes con asma persistente, ya que 44,7% de estos consideraban que el control de su enfermedad era bueno o total. Solo 2,4% de los pacientes (2,3% de los adultos y 2,6% de los niños) cumplían todos los criterios correspondientes a un control total del asma. Aunque 37% de los participantes refirieron haber sido tratados con algún medicamento adquirible por receta médica, solamente 6% utilizaban corticoesteroides inhalados. El 79% de los pacientes adultos y 68% de los niños con asma mencionaron que sus síntomas limitaban sus actividades de alguna manera. El 58% de los niños habían faltado al colegio, y 31% de los adultos habían faltado al trabajo debido al asma. CONCLUSIONES: Los niveles actuales de control del asma en América Latina distan mucho de los objetivos especificados por las guías internacionales para el manejo del asma, y en muchos aspectos referidos al cuidado y al control de la enfermedad se observan en América Latina las mismas carencias que en otras áreas del mundo. <![CDATA[<B>Neoliberal health sector reforms in Latin America</B>: <B>unprepared managers and unhappy workers</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This work analyzes the neoliberal health sector reforms that have taken place in Latin America, the preparation of health care workers for the reforms, the reforms' impacts on the workers, and the consequences that the reforms have had on efficiency and quality in the health sector. The piece also looks at the process of formulating and implementing the reforms. The piece utilizes secondary sources and in-depth interviews with health sector managers in Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Mexico. Neoliberal reforms have not solved the human resources problems that health sector evaluations and academic studies had identified as the leading causes of health system inefficiency and low-quality services that existed before the reforms. The reforms worsened the situation by putting new pressures on health personnel, in terms of both the lack of necessary training to face the challenges that came with the reforms and efforts to take away from workers the rights and benefits that they had gained during years of struggles by unions, and to replace them with temporary contracts, reduced job security, and lower benefits. The secrecy with which the reforms were developed and applied made workers even more unified. In response, unions opposed the reforms, and in some countries they were able to delay the reforms. The neoliberal reforms have not improved the efficiency or quality of health systems in Latin America despite the resources that have been invested. Nor have the neoliberal reforms supported specific changes that have been applied in the public sector and that have demonstrated their ability to solve important health problems. These specific changes have produced better results than the neoliberal reforms, and at a lower cost. <![CDATA[<B>Neoliberal reforms in health services in Latin America</B>: <B>a critical view from two case studies</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892005000300012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Neoliberal reforms have promoted privatization and decentralization as strategies to improve equity, efficiency, and the quality of health services. In this piece the impact of these reforms in Latin America is critically analyzed, and the impacts of privatization in Colombia and of decentralization in Mexico are detailed. These two cases show that after 10 years of privatization in Colombia and 20 years of decentralization in Mexico the reforms have had the opposite of the desired effect: They have not improved equity, have increased health expenditures, have not increased efficiency, and have not shown a positive impact on quality. Public health programs in Colombia have deteriorated, while decentralization in Mexico has had a very high cost, without achieving the proposed objectives. It is officially accepted that decentralization in Mexico has increased inequity, and that new reforms implemented in 2003 promote vertical programs. Health systems based on regulated competition are not the most suitable ones for Latin America. Latin American countries should improve their health systems in line with the principles stated in the Declaration of Alma Ata and according to their own national experiences.