• Health communication as a field of study in universities in the United States of America Temas de Actualidad

    Alcalay, Rina

    Abstract in English:

    This article analyzes the state of development of communications related to health in universities of the United States of America. This specialty is essential for people's well-being, and it involves interpersonal, organizational, and mass communications. In the United States, communications for health promotion is an area of applied communications with social relevance and generally performed in interdisciplinary settings. A number of universities in the United States offer communications master's degree programs with an emphasis on health. However, so far, the only program with a formal graduate degree in health and communications is one jointly offered by the Emerson University Department of Communications and the Tufts School of Medicine. Developing and including this specialization in the schools of communications in Latin America is crucial to improving the quality of life of the peoples of the continent.
  • Vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae type b in Uruguay: experience and impact Temas de Actualidad

    Ruocco, Gloria; Curto, Sergio; Savio, María; Laurani, Hilda; Frocht, Rosa

    Abstract in English:

    Between 1979 and 1994, epidemiological surveillance of meningitides in Uruguay showed a progressive increase in suppurative meningitides due mainly to Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). The cases were concentrated in children under 5; however, among the cases caused by Hib, 70% affected children from 1 to 11 months old. Facing this situation, the Ministry of Public Health resolved, as of August 1994, to include the Hib vaccine in the country's Expanded Program on Immunization, which has been in place since 1982. The Hib vaccination is done without charge and is obligatory for all children under 5 years of age. It is done using the following series of vaccinations: a) three doses, given at 2, 4, and 6 months, with a booster dose at age 1; b) children from 7 to 11 months old receive two doses two months apart and a booster dose a year later; and c) a single dose for children 12 months to 4 years old. Between August and December 1994 a coverage rate of 76.6% was reached among children between 2 months and 4 years old, and the coverage has remained above 80% in the new cohorts. In Uruguay, this vaccination strategy had a spectacular impact on morbidity and mortality due to meningitides caused by Hib. One of the results was that the incidence of 15.6 per 100000 registered in children under 5 in the prevaccination years declined to 0.03 per 100000 in 1996.
  • Introducing Hib conjugate vaccine in Chile and Uruguay Temas de Actualidad

    Landaverde, Mauricio; Di Fabio, José Luis; Ruocco, Gloria; Leal, Irene; Quadros, Ciro de

    Abstract in English:

    In some countries, the invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) has been practically eliminated thanks to vaccination. However, in much of the developing world, meningitides and pneumonias caused by these bacteria continue to be a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality, as well as high hospitalization costs. Because safe and effective conjugate vaccines are now available, the Special Program for Vaccines and Immunization of the Pan American Health Organization has recommended introducing them into the regular vaccination regimen of as many countries as possible. This has been done in Chile and Uruguay, where the Hib vaccine now forms part of the regular vaccination routine. When the vaccine was being introduced, both countries had difficulties they could have avoided if they had known of the experiences of other nations. Therefore, these two countries now offer the lessons they learned to other nations considering introducing the vaccine into their immunization programs. The most important lessons were to: strengthen the epidemiological surveillance system sufficiently in advance of introducing the vaccine; with th support of sicentific societies, present the technical information that justifies introducing the vaccine; seek community backing and acceptance; precisely establish in advance the presentation and dosage of the vaccine that is most appropriate for the country; and be certain to have the political and legal decisions needed to ensure the continuity of Hib vaccination in the future.
Organización Panamericana de la Salud Washington - Washington - United States
E-mail: contacto_rpsp@paho.org