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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


CHOI, Bernard C. K.; TENNASSEE, L. Maritza  and  EIJKEMANS, Gerry J. M.. Developing regional workplace health and hazard surveillance in the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.10, n.6, pp.376-381. ISSN 1680-5348.

An objective of the Workers' Health Program at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is to strengthen surveillance in workers' health in the Region of the Americas in order to implement prevention and control strategies. To date, four phases of projects have been organized to develop multinational workplace health and hazard surveillance in the Region. Phase 1 was a workshop held in 1999 in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of developing a methodology for identifying and prioritizing the top three occupational sentinel health events to be incorporated into the surveillance systems in the Region. Three surveillance protocols were developed, one each for fatal occupational injuries, pesticide poisoning,4 and low back pain, which were identified in the workshop as the most important occupational health problems. Phase 2 comprised projects to disseminate the findings and recommendations of the Washington Workshop, including publications, pilot projects, software development, electronic communication, and meetings. Phase 3 was a sub-regional meeting in 2000 in Rosario, Argentina, to follow up on the progress in carrying out the recommendations of the Washington workshop and to create a Virtual Regional Center for Latin America that could coordinate the efforts of member countries. Currently phase 4 includes a number of projects to achieve the objectives of this Center, such as pilot projects, capacity building, editing a compact disk, analyzing legal systems and intervention strategies, software training, and developing an internet course on surveillance. By documenting the joint efforts made to initiate and develop Regional multinational surveillance of occupational injuries and diseases in the Americas, this paper aims to provide experience and guidance for others wishing to initiate and develop regional multinational surveillance for other diseases or in other regions.

Keywords : Workers' health; occupational health; hazard surveillance; health surveillance; occupational sentinel health event [prioritization].

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