Abstract in English:The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has 25 years of experience dealing with major natural disasters. This piece provides a preliminary review of the events taking place in the weeks following the major earthquakes in El Salvador on 13 January and 13 February 2001. It also describes the lessons that have been learned over the last 25 years and the impact that the El Salvador earthquakes and other disasters have had on the health of the affected populations. Topics covered include mass-casualties management, communicable diseases, water supply, managing donations and international assistance, damages to the health-facilities infrastructure, mental health, and PAHO's role in disasters.
Abstract in English:Antimicrobial resistance constitutes a growing threat to everyone, regardless of age, sex, or socioeconomic status. The problem could end up reversing the dramatic reduction in morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases that was achieved with these drugs over the last half century. Although it is impossible to end the problem of antimicrobial resistance, it is possible to make it manageable. To reach this goal, there is a need to improve the monitoring of emerging resistance problems, to extend the useful life of antimicrobials, to develop new drugs, and to apply other measures to prevent and control resistance such as improved vaccines and better methods to diagnose and control infections. In spite of the urgency of the problem, meeting these objectives has not been easy, and the achievements so far have fallen short. Given this situation, in 1999 several agencies of the Government of the United States of America formed a special task force to prepare a public health action plan on antimicrobial resistance. The plan is intended to reflect a broad consensus within the United States Government concerning how to address the resistance problem, with cooperation from the private sector and the broader society. This document is the first of two parts of that action plan, and it is devoted to the resistance problem in the United States. The document describes the plan's objectives and action steps in four primary areas: surveillance, prevention and control, research, and product development.