Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública]]> http://www.scielosp.org/rss.php?pid=1020-498920060007&lang=en vol. 20 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielosp.org/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielosp.org <![CDATA[<B>Mortality from oral and pharyngeal cancer in Brazil</B>: <B>trends and regional patterns, 1979-2002</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVE: To investigate the trends and regional patterns in mortality from oral cancer and pharyngeal cancer in Brazil from 1979 through 2002. METHODS: Data were obtained from the Mortality Information System (Sistema de Informações sobre Mortalidade) database, which is compiled by the Ministry of Health of Brazil. Mortality rates were adjusted by gender and age. The Prais-Winsten generalized linear regression procedure was used to calculate the annual increase or decrease in mortality rates. The time trends for mortality due to oral cancer and to pharyngeal cancer were analyzed by specific anatomical site and by region of the country (North, Northeast, South, Southeast, and Center-West). RESULTS: In all five regions of Brazil over the period studied, oral cancer mortality remained stable for both genders, but pharyngeal cancer mortality increased for both genders. Mortality from cancer affecting the lips, tongue, gums, mouth floor, palate, other parts of the mouth, and tonsils showed a statistically significant decrease over the period. However, mortality from cancer affecting the oropharynx, hypopharynx, and ill-defined and undefined sites of the oral cavity and the pharynx showed a significant increase. Mortality rates for both oral cancer and pharyngeal cancer were higher in the South and Southeast regions of the country than in Brazil's three other regions. CONCLUSIONS: The relatively larger decrease in mortality from cancer affecting the lips, gums, and other anatomical sites more easily accessible to clinical inspection suggests a possible link between oral and pharyngeal cancer survival and an improved provision of health care services in Brazil in recent decades.<hr/>OBJETIVO: Investigar las tendencias y patrones regionales mostrados por la mortalidad por cáncer bucal y faríngeo en el Brasil de 1979 a 2002. MÉTODOS: La información se obtuvo de la base de datos del Sistema de Informações sobre Mortalidade, recopilada por el Ministerio de Salud del Brasil. Las tasas de mortalidad se ajustaron según el sexo y la edad y se aplicó el método de regresión lineal generalizada de Prais-Winsten para calcular el aumento o la reducción anual en las tasas de mortalidad. Las tendencias temporales de la mortalidad por cáncer bucal y cáncer faríngeo se analizaron por sitio anatómico y región del país (norte, noreste, sur, sureste y centrooccidental). RESULTADOS: Durante el período estudiado, en todas las cinco regiones del Brasil la mortalidad por cáncer bucal se mantuvo estable en ambos sexos, pero la mortalidad por cáncer faríngeo aumentó en los dos. La mortalidad ocasionada por cánceres en los labios, la lengua, las encías, el piso de la boca, el paladar, otras partes de la cavidad bucal y las amígdalas mostró un descenso estadísticamente significativo durante el período examinado. En cambio, la mortalidad por cánceres en la orofaringe, la hipofaringe y puntos mal definidos o indefinidos de la cavidad bucal y la faringe mostró un aumento significativo. Las tasas de mortalidad por cáncer bucal y por cáncer faríngeo fueron más altas en las regiones sur y sureste que en las otras tres regiones del Brasil. CONCLUSIONES: La reducción más grande que se produjo, en términos relativos, en la mortalidad por cánceres de los labios, encías y otros sitios anatómicos más accesibles a la inspección clínica apunta a un posible vínculo entre la supervivencia de pacientes con cáncer bucal y faríngeo y una mejor provisión de asistencia sanitaria en el Brasil en décadas recientes. <![CDATA[<B>Burden of rotavirus-related disease among children under five, Colombia, 2004</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVOS: Establecer un sistema de vigilancia intrahospitalaria de la diarrea en niños menores de 5 años, estimar la carga de la enfermedad por rotavirus e identificar los genotipos más frecuentes de rotavirus. MÉTODOS: Se incluyó en este estudio a niños hospitalizados por complicaciones graves de la diarrea en tres centros asistenciales de Santa Fe de Bogotá, Barranquilla y Cali, Colombia. Se utilizó un método de enzimoinmunoanálisis en fase sólida (ELISA) para la detección de rotavirus y un método de reacción en cadena de la polimerasa con transcripción inversa (RT-PCR) para la genotipificación. Se determinaron las frecuencias, la tendencia central y la dispersión de las variables. Se realizó un análisis estratificado y un análisis con dos variables, mediante una prueba de la ji2 o una prueba exacta de Fisher, o una prueba de la ji2 para evaluar la tendencia, según los datos. Se establecieron los riesgos relativos. Para el análisis de la tendencia, se utilizaron la regresión lineal, los coeficientes de correlación y los valores de P. RESULTADOS: Entre diciembre de 2003 y noviembre de 2004 se hospitalizó a 893 niños en los tres centros participantes en el estudio, de los cuales el 68% tenía entre 6 y 23 meses de edad. Un 2,7% de los pacientes ingresados presentaba un cuadro de choque hipovolémico y un 1,2% falleció. Solo un 57% de las madres había administrado a sus hijos una solución de rehidratación oral antes de la hospitalización. La infección por rotavirus motivó un 50% de las hospitalizaciones (coeficiente de correlación [r] > 0,8) y se relacionó con intolerancia a la vía oral (riesgo relativo [RR] = 1,45; intervalo de confianza del 95% [IC95%]: 1,24 - 1,69; P < 0,0000) y vómito incoercible (RR = 1,47; IC95%: 1,16 - 1,86; P < 0,01). La infección por rotavirus ocasionó una muerte por cada 2 000 niños; 16 hospitalizaciones por cada 1 000 niños y 631 consultas por cada 1 000 niños. Se identificó estacionalidad en los genotipos G1P[8], G2P[4] y G3P[8] de rotavirus, que no varió a pesar de la distancia geográfica y las diferencias de temperatura, humedad y precipitación entre las tres ciudades. CONCLUSIONES: La infección por rotavirus es una causa importante de morbilidad y mortalidad por diarrea, especialmente en los primeros años de vida, cuando los niños están más expuestos a las complicaciones graves. Es necesario que las estrategias de prevención tengan un alto impacto antes de los 6 meses de edad. La vacunación contra el rotavirus puede ser una buena estrategia complementaria de intervención. No se encontró en la literatura internacional ninguna descripción anterior de la estacionalidad de los genotipos de rotavirus. Es importante hacer estudios de costo-efectividad para favorecer la inversión de recursos según las necesidades de la población y continuar la vigilancia para ampliar el conocimiento del comportamiento de este virus.<hr/>OBJECTIVES: To establish an in-hospital surveillance system for diarrhea in children under five, to estimate the burden of rotavirus-related disease, and to identify the most common rotavirus genotypes. METHODS: Included in the study were children who were hospitalized for serious complications of diarrhea in three medical care facilities in Bogotá, Barranquilla, and Cali, Colombia. A solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect rotavirus, and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was the genotyping method employed. The frequencies, central tendency, and dispersion of the variables were determined. Stratified analysis and bivariate analysis were performed by applying a chi squared test or Fisher's exact test, or a chi squared test for trends, depending on the type of data analyzed. Relative risks were established. For analyzing trends we performed linear regression and calculated correlation coefficients and P values. RESULTS: Between December 2003 and November 2004, 893 children were hospitalized in the three participating centers included in the study. Of these children, 68% were between 6 and 23 months of age; 2.7% of hospitalized patients showed clinical signs of hypovolemic shock, and 1.2% died. Only 57% of the mothers had given their children an oral rehydration solution before hospitalization. Rotavirus infection was the cause of 50% of hospitalizations (correlation coefficient [r] > 0.8) and was linked to an inability to hold down orally-ingested fluids (relative risk [RR] = 1.45; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.24 to 1.69; P < 0.0000) and to intractable vomiting (RR = 1.47; 95% CI: 1.16 to 1.86; P < 0.01). Rotavirus infection led to one death per 2 000 children; 16 hospitalizations per 1 000 children, and 631 medical visits per 1 000 children. A seasonal trend was noted for G1P[8], G2P[4], and G3P[8] rotavirus genotypes, and this did not vary as a result of geographic distance or differences in temperature, humidity, and rainfall among cities. CONCLUSIONS: Rotavirus infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality from diarrhea, particularly during the first years of life, when children are more susceptible to serious complications. It is important for prevention strategies to have a high impact before 6 months of age, and vaccination against rotavirus can be a good complementary intervention strategy. No description was found in the international scientific literature of the seasonal variations in rotavirus genotypes. It is important to carry out cost-effectiveness studies in order to promote the investment of resources in accordance with population needs, and to continue surveillance activities so as to better understand how the virus behaves. <![CDATA[<B>Prevalence of signs and symptoms, associated sociodemographic factors and resulting actions in an urban center in southern Brazil</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVO: Determinar a prevalência de sinais e sintomas na população adulta, os fatores sociodemográficos associados e a atitude diante desses sintomas segundo o sexo. MÉTODOS: Um estudo transversal de base populacional foi realizado na Cidade de Rio Grande, Estado do Rio Grande do Sul, no ano de 2000. Foram entrevistadas 1 259 pessoas com 15 anos ou mais. Aplicou-se um questionário estruturado contendo 18 sintomas, além de questões sociodemográficas. Foram calculadas a prevalência dos sintomas e as razões de prevalência para sexo, idade e classe econômica ajustados entre si. Também foi analisada a atitude tomada frente aos sintomas segundo o sexo. RESULTADOS: A idade média foi de 40,33 anos (53,9% mulheres). O problema mais prevalente foi dor de cabeça (55,4%). Dor nas juntas, insônia, prisão de ventre, pressão alta e falta de ar aumentaram com a idade. Tiveram maior prevalência em classes mais baixas: dor de cabeça, nervosismo, dor nas juntas e nas costas, insônia e depressão, tosse, pressão alta, dor torácica e falta de ar. Foram relatados 4 424 problemas de saúde (3,25 por pessoa) e 60,2% não geraram nenhuma atitude, 31,6% levaram à automedicação e 8,2% geraram procura por serviços médicos. Dor de cabeça, nervosismo, dor nas juntas e nas costas, insônia, depressão, prisão de ventre, pressão alta, dor no peito e falta de ar foram significativamente mais prevalentes nas mulheres, enquanto tosse foi significativamente maior entre os homens. As atitudes tomadas frente aos sinais e sintomas foram semelhante entre homens e mulheres. CONCLUSÕES: É necessário estabelecer políticas de saúde que enfatizem a saúde mental e a educação para o auto-cuidado, salientando quais sintomas indicam a necessidade de procurar um serviço de saúde. Também é preciso estudar o papel da classe social na determinação do comportamento em saúde e da procura de cuidados.<hr/>OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of signs and symptoms in the adult population, the sociodemographic factors associated with them, and the actions taken as a result of these symptoms, according to sex. METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out in the city of Rio Grande (state of Rio Grande do Sul), Brazil, in 2000. We interviewed 1 259 people Ž 15 years of age. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire containing 18 symptoms in addition to sociodemographic questions. The prevalence of symptoms and prevalence ratios for sex, age, and socioeconomic status were estimated after alternately adjusting for these variables. The actions resulting from the presence of symptoms were also analyzed for each sex. RESULTS: Mean age was 40.33 years (53.9% were women). The most prevalent symptom was headache (55.4%). Joint pain, insomnia, constipation, high blood pressure, and shortness of breath increased with age. The following were more prevalent among the lower social classes: headache, nervousness, joint and back pain, insomnia and depression, high blood pressure, chest pain, and shortness of breath. A total of 4 424 health problems were reported (an average of 3.25 per person); 60.2% did not generate any action, 31.6% resulted in self-medication, and 8.2% resulted in a visit to a medical facility. Headache, nervousness, joint and back pain, insomnia, depression, constipation, high blood pressure, chest pain, and shortness of breath were significantly higher in women, whereas cough was significantly more prevalent in men. Women and men took similar actions in the presence of signs and symptoms. CONCLUSION: It is necessary to establish health policies that lay an emphasis on mental health and education for self care and on those symptoms that signal the need to go to a health facility. It is also necessary to study the role of social class in determining health behavior and the choice to seek care. <![CDATA[<B>Women's empowerment and life expectancy at birth in Mexico</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVOS: Evaluar el efecto del empoderamiento de las mujeres (EM) sobre la esperanza de vida al nacer (EVN) en los estados federativos de México y comparar los resultados de medir el EM con diferentes indicadores compuestos que privilegian en mayor o menor medida un enfoque individual o poblacional. MÉTODOS: Estudio ecológico con datos de los 32 estados federativos mexicanos. Se estimaron las correlaciones entre la EVN total y por sexo y la medida de empoderamiento de género (MEG), el índice de poder de decisión de la mujer en el hogar (IPDH), el índice de autonomía de la mujer (IAM), la desigualdad en el ingreso, algunos factores del ambiente físico, la proporción de la población que hablaba lengua indígena y la tasa migratoria neta. Mediante regresiones robustas se exploró el efecto de la MEG y los índices de autonomía y de poder de decisión de la mujer en el hogar sobre la EVN, ajustado por las demás variables independientes. RESULTADOS: Se encontró una correlación inversa muy fuerte (-0,93) entre la EVN total y el factor del ambiente físico que caracteriza la vulnerabilidad poblacional y la biodiversidad. También se encontraron correlaciones significativas, tanto directas como inversas, entre la EVN por una parte y el IPDH, el IAM, la tasa migratoria neta, el porcentaje de la población que hablaba lengua indígena y el coeficiente de Gini por la otra. Las regresiones robustas múltiples mostraron asociaciones inversas entre la MEG y la EVN en mujeres (beta: -1,44; intervalo de confianza de 95% [IC95%]: -2,71 a -0,17). El IAM se asoció de manera directa con la EVN en hombres (beta: 0,88; IC95%: 0,01 a 1,75) y mujeres (beta: 0,66; IC95%: 0,03 a 1,30). CONCLUSIÓN: El uso de la MEG como aproximación al EM no puso de manifiesto efectos positivos del EM sobre la EVN en México. Se deben revisar los elementos que integran la MEG y la pertinencia de su uso en diversos contextos. El IAM mostró una mayor asociación con la EVN y su efecto fue de mayor magnitud en los hombres. Este indicador permitió medir la EM en México y se recomienda usarlo mientras no se tenga otro que permita captar más eficazmente todos los elementos que inciden en el EM.<hr/>OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of women's empowerment (WE) on life expectancy at birth (LEB) in the federative states of Mexico and to compare the results of measuring WE with various compound indicators that reflect, to a greater or lesser degree, an individual or population focus. METHODS: This was an ecological study conducted in Mexico's 32 federative states. We estimated the correlations between overall and sex-specific LEB on the one hand, and a measure of gender empowerment (MGE), the index of women's ability to make decisions within the household (WADH), the index of women's autonomy (IWA), income inequality, certain aspects of the physical environment, the proportion of the population who spoke an indigenous language, and the net migratory rate on the other. By using robust regressions, we studied the effect on LEB of MGE, IWA, and WADH, after mutually adjusting for other independent variables. RESULTS: A very strong inverse correlation (-0.93) was found between overall LEB and factors of the physical environment linked to population vulnerability and biodiversity. Significant direct and inverse correlations were also found between LEB on the one hand and WADH, IWA, net migratory rate, the percentage of the population that spoke an indigenous language, and the Gini coefficient on the other. Multiple robust regressions showed inverse associations between MGE and LEB in women (beta: -1.44; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: -2.71 to -0.17). WAI was positively associated with LEB in men (beta: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.01 to 1.75) and women (beta: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.03 to 1.30). CONCLUSION: The use of MGE as a surrogate for WE failed to reveal a positive effect of WE on LEB in Mexico. It is necessary to review the components that make up MGE and the relevance of using such a measure in different contexts. WAI showed a greater association with LEB and its effect was greater among men. This indicator made it possible to measure WE in Mexico and its use is recommended, as long as there are no other indicators available for capturing more effectively all the components that affect WE. <![CDATA[<B>Seroprevalence of dengue virus antibodies in asymptomatic Costa Rican children, 2002-2003</B>: <B>a pilot study</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVES: Since 1993 dengue has become more frequent in Costa Rica. Adults have been the most affected population, while children have remained virtually unharmed. So far no studies have investigated how many asymptomatic children have been affected by this virus. This pilot study documents the seroprevalence, measured as the presence of IgG antibodies, of dengue virus in asymptomatic children from two different geographical areas. METHODS: This descriptive, prospective epidemiologic study compared the presence of antibodies in children who live in a coastal region of a tropical country where dengue is endemic, and an inland area where dengue is not endemic. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to test the serum for dengue virus IgG antibodies. None of the children had a prior history of dengue, fever, immunosuppressive therapy or underlying disease. RESULTS: During the period from July 2002 to July 2003, 103 children were recruited from each area. In the costal region we found a seroprevalence of 36.9%. In the inland area seroprevalence was 2.9% CONCLUSIONS: We found a substantial number of asymptomatic infections in Costa Rican children. This greatly increases the risk of dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome in these children, in whom previous dengue infection had gone undetected. Preventive efforts should be targeted at the costal region due to the higher prevalence in this area.<hr/>OBJETIVOS: Desde 1993, la frecuencia de dengue en Costa Rica ha venido aumentando. La población de adultos ha sido la más afectada, mientras que en los niños apenas se han presentado casos. Hasta el momento no se han realizado estudios para determinar cuántos niños asintomáticos se han visto afectados por el virus de la enfermedad. Este estudio piloto documenta la seroprevalencia de anticuerpos de tipo IgG contra el virus del dengue en niños asintomáticos procedentes de dos zonas geográficas distintas. MÉTODOS: En este estudio epidemiológico descriptivo y prospectivo se comparó la presencia de anticuerpos en niños que vivían en la zona costera de un país tropical donde el dengue es endémico, y en una zona del interior donde no lo es. Se usó inmunoadsorción enzimática para detectar IgG en el suero. Ninguno de los niños tenía antecedentes de dengue, enfermedad febril, tratamiento inmunosupresor o enfermedad subyacente. RESULTADOS: Durante el período transcurrido desde julio de 2003 hasta julio de 2003, se reunió a 103 niños de cada área. En la zona costera encontramos una seroprevalencia de IgG de 36,9%; en el interior, de 2,9%. CONCLUSIONES: Encontramos muchos casos de infección asintomática por el virus del dengue en niños costarricenses. Esto conlleva un riesgo elevado de fiebre hemorrágica del dengue o de síndrome de choque por dengue en estos niños en quienes la infección había pasado inadvertida. Es necesario tomar medidas preventivas en la región del litoral debido a la mayor prevalencia de la enfermedad en ella. <![CDATA[<B>Health priorities in Brazil in the 1990s</B>: <B>three policies, many lessons</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper, which focuses on the Brazilian Ministry of Health's agenda as the national health authority between 1990 and 2002, identifies and analyzes Ministry priorities. Three main policies were identified for the period: decentralization, establishment of a family health program, and the policy to combat AIDS. In general, the initial design of these policies was consistent with the guidelines of the Brazilian public health system (SUS). However, discrepancies were found between the universalistic agenda of the Brazilian health reform carried out in the 1980s and the hegemonic agenda of state reform that prevailed in the country in the 1990s, which had liberal roots and did not favor the expansion of government actions and comprehensive social policies. Within this unfavorable political and economic context, the development of specific health policies prioritized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health revealed unsolved problems and gaps in the public health system and limitations in the Ministry's ability to exercise its role as national health authority. <![CDATA[<B>Características genéticas de las poblaciones de <I>Aedes aegypti</I> en Río de Janeiro</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper, which focuses on the Brazilian Ministry of Health's agenda as the national health authority between 1990 and 2002, identifies and analyzes Ministry priorities. Three main policies were identified for the period: decentralization, establishment of a family health program, and the policy to combat AIDS. In general, the initial design of these policies was consistent with the guidelines of the Brazilian public health system (SUS). However, discrepancies were found between the universalistic agenda of the Brazilian health reform carried out in the 1980s and the hegemonic agenda of state reform that prevailed in the country in the 1990s, which had liberal roots and did not favor the expansion of government actions and comprehensive social policies. Within this unfavorable political and economic context, the development of specific health policies prioritized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health revealed unsolved problems and gaps in the public health system and limitations in the Ministry's ability to exercise its role as national health authority. <![CDATA[<B>El enfoque de reducción del daño en la lucha contra el alcoholismo en Brasil</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper, which focuses on the Brazilian Ministry of Health's agenda as the national health authority between 1990 and 2002, identifies and analyzes Ministry priorities. Three main policies were identified for the period: decentralization, establishment of a family health program, and the policy to combat AIDS. In general, the initial design of these policies was consistent with the guidelines of the Brazilian public health system (SUS). However, discrepancies were found between the universalistic agenda of the Brazilian health reform carried out in the 1980s and the hegemonic agenda of state reform that prevailed in the country in the 1990s, which had liberal roots and did not favor the expansion of government actions and comprehensive social policies. Within this unfavorable political and economic context, the development of specific health policies prioritized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health revealed unsolved problems and gaps in the public health system and limitations in the Ministry's ability to exercise its role as national health authority. <![CDATA[<B>El efecto del HAART en la incidencia de infecciones oportunistas en niños con sida</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper, which focuses on the Brazilian Ministry of Health's agenda as the national health authority between 1990 and 2002, identifies and analyzes Ministry priorities. Three main policies were identified for the period: decentralization, establishment of a family health program, and the policy to combat AIDS. In general, the initial design of these policies was consistent with the guidelines of the Brazilian public health system (SUS). However, discrepancies were found between the universalistic agenda of the Brazilian health reform carried out in the 1980s and the hegemonic agenda of state reform that prevailed in the country in the 1990s, which had liberal roots and did not favor the expansion of government actions and comprehensive social policies. Within this unfavorable political and economic context, the development of specific health policies prioritized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health revealed unsolved problems and gaps in the public health system and limitations in the Ministry's ability to exercise its role as national health authority. <![CDATA[<B>La extensión de los servicios de cuidados postaborto en Guatemala</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper, which focuses on the Brazilian Ministry of Health's agenda as the national health authority between 1990 and 2002, identifies and analyzes Ministry priorities. Three main policies were identified for the period: decentralization, establishment of a family health program, and the policy to combat AIDS. In general, the initial design of these policies was consistent with the guidelines of the Brazilian public health system (SUS). However, discrepancies were found between the universalistic agenda of the Brazilian health reform carried out in the 1980s and the hegemonic agenda of state reform that prevailed in the country in the 1990s, which had liberal roots and did not favor the expansion of government actions and comprehensive social policies. Within this unfavorable political and economic context, the development of specific health policies prioritized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health revealed unsolved problems and gaps in the public health system and limitations in the Ministry's ability to exercise its role as national health authority. <![CDATA[<B>La aplicabilidad de los principios de la promoción de la salud ante la amenaza de una pandemia</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper, which focuses on the Brazilian Ministry of Health's agenda as the national health authority between 1990 and 2002, identifies and analyzes Ministry priorities. Three main policies were identified for the period: decentralization, establishment of a family health program, and the policy to combat AIDS. In general, the initial design of these policies was consistent with the guidelines of the Brazilian public health system (SUS). However, discrepancies were found between the universalistic agenda of the Brazilian health reform carried out in the 1980s and the hegemonic agenda of state reform that prevailed in the country in the 1990s, which had liberal roots and did not favor the expansion of government actions and comprehensive social policies. Within this unfavorable political and economic context, the development of specific health policies prioritized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health revealed unsolved problems and gaps in the public health system and limitations in the Ministry's ability to exercise its role as national health authority. <![CDATA[<B>Regional immunization programs as a model for strengthening cooperation among nations</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Dos funciones esenciales de los programas de vacunación regionales aplicados en varios países simultáneamente consisten en controlar en todo un territorio, franqueando fronteras, las enfermedades que se pueden prevenir mediante la vacunación y en reducir las faltas de equidad en materia de salud. Los buenos resultados de los programas de vacunación regionales dependen del esfuerzo coordinado que hagan los países y sus socios por alcanzar una meta regional en común. Con el fin de explorar las lecciones derivadas de la experiencia, en este artículo se echa un vistazo al Programa Ampliado de Inmunización original de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), al Fondo Rotatorio de la OPS para la adquisición de vacunas y jeringas para los programas nacionales de vacunación, y a la erradicación de la poliomielitis del territorio americano. Se resaltan estas lecciones para ayudar a los formuladores de políticas en los niveles mundial, regional y subregional a coordinar eficazmente las intervenciones de salud realizadas por varios países en conjunto. Para ser provechosos, los programas de salud regionales tienen que verse respaldados por un genuino compromiso con la cooperación entre países como valor fundamental; la capacidad para averiguar qué problemas existen e idear buenas soluciones; la capacidad para llevar a cabo intervenciones de manera sustentable; el firme compromiso de los ministros de salud y otros jefes de gobierno; la gestión eficaz de los programas; los planes de salud nacionales; la buena supervisión técnica y la coordinación de alianzas; una cooperación técnica más intensa con los países más pobres, donde hay que redoblar los esfuerzos por conseguir más recursos y apoyo; la cooperación entre países; y la capacidad para responder a circunstancias insólitas. <![CDATA[<B>Preventing deaths from dengue</B>: <B>a space and challenge for primary health care</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Dengue is an arthropod-borne viral disease whose frequency has increased steadily in the Americas over the past 25 years. The type of dengue that carries the highest mortality is the clinical variant known as dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Even though no vaccine or drug against the disease is available, successful management consists of preventing serious illness through patient follow-up and monitoring danger signals so as to be able to initiate aggressive intravenous rehydration and prevent shock or treat it early and successfully. These measures are also useful in preventing other complications, such as massive hemorrhage, disseminated intravascular coagulation, multiple organ failure, and respiratory failure due to non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Primary health care (PHC) settings and the community are ideal spaces for this type of preventive management based on health education and active case detection. It involves training all medical and nursing staff, students, and community health workers, as well as reorganizing health care in PHC units and hospitals and redistributing available resources during a dengue epidemic. <![CDATA[<B>Errata</B>: <B>Rosenfeld S et al. Medication as a risk factor for falls in older women in Brazil. (<I>Rev Panam Salud Publica</I> 2003;13(6):369-375)</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006000700014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Dengue is an arthropod-borne viral disease whose frequency has increased steadily in the Americas over the past 25 years. The type of dengue that carries the highest mortality is the clinical variant known as dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Even though no vaccine or drug against the disease is available, successful management consists of preventing serious illness through patient follow-up and monitoring danger signals so as to be able to initiate aggressive intravenous rehydration and prevent shock or treat it early and successfully. These measures are also useful in preventing other complications, such as massive hemorrhage, disseminated intravascular coagulation, multiple organ failure, and respiratory failure due to non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Primary health care (PHC) settings and the community are ideal spaces for this type of preventive management based on health education and active case detection. It involves training all medical and nursing staff, students, and community health workers, as well as reorganizing health care in PHC units and hospitals and redistributing available resources during a dengue epidemic.