Health Task Forces

As part of its education initiatives, AHF creates Disease-Specific Task Forces for the purpose of advancing key vaccination and health education topics in Latin America. Specifically, the establishment of Disease-Specific Task Forces aims to promote awareness and increase medical knowledge in the areas of the disease, advance knowledge of the prevalence and burden of the disease and advocate for more effective programs and policies towards increasing prevention and control strategies regarding the disease.

AHF will convene a Task Force in each of the designated disease areas comprised of clinicians from the Latin American region who specialize in diagnosing and treating each of the targeted diseases. The Disease Task Force Initiative will constitute a series of meetings aimed at multiple audiences in Latin America. The objectives of the Disease Task Force Initiative will be to:

  1. Prepare and discuss the burden of the disease in Latin America and to review the current prevention and control strategies relevant to the disease in Latin American countries.
  2. Define and prepare an action plan for a set time period on the disease regarding prevention and control policies in Latin America, and
  3. Prepare and evaluate recommendations to be presented to the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) 2015 Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting on Vaccine-preventable Diseases, if relevant.
     

The Disease-Specific Task Force’s formulation of recommendations for public health authorities in the Region serve as an invaluable tool for guiding health professionals and private industry, while also serving to educate and build awareness among the public at large.

Task Forces:
Polio
Dengue
Varicella
Pertussis
Influenza


Polio Task Force

The Americas Health Foundation (AHF) in partnership with SLIPE (Sociedad Latina Americana de Infectologia Pediatria) convened a workshop of experts in Polio and vaccination strategies to discuss the Polio Vaccination policy and implementation of vaccination programs in Latin America. The experts group conducted a roundtable discussion in Miami, Florida on February 24-26th, 2014. As a result of this meeting the experts developed a paper, 'The challenge of changing the inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine in Latin America, Declaration of the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (SLIPE)', which was published in Spanish in Rev Chilena Infectol 2014; 31 (5): 590-596. Click here to read the full article. 

Panelists included:

  • Luiza Helena Falleiros-Arlant
  • María Luisa Avila-Agüero
  • José Brea del Castillo
  • Cristina Mariño

Dengue Task Force

The Americas Health Foundation (AHF), in partnership with SLIPE (Sociedad Latina Americana de Infectologia Pediatria), will convene a Dengue Task Force comprised of clinicians from the Latin American region who specialize in diagnosing and treating dengue and will constitute a series of meetings aimed at multiple audiences in Latin America. The purpose of the Dengue Task Force Initiative is to promote awareness, increase medical knowledge, support the development and strengthening of vaccination policies, and advance key vaccination policy topics in the area of dengue.

Dengue, also known as breakbone fever, is a painful, debilitating and sometimes fatal viral disease that is transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegyptimosquito and is caused by one of four related, but distinct, virus serotypes (DEN 1-4). With more than 50 million cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) each year, dengue is now regarded as the world’s most important mosquito-borne viral disease. Given that 60% of these reports are from the Americas, predominantly Latin America, dengue infection is a significant and escalating public health problem in Latin America.  

The Dengue Task Force’s formulation of recommendations for public health authorities in the Region will serve as an invaluable tool for guiding health professionals and private industry, while also serving to educate and build awareness among the public at large.

Dengue Task Force Meeting
On Monday, May 18, 2015 AHF, in partnership with the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (SLIPE) and Florida International University (FIU), convened a Dengue Task Force meeting in Miami comprised of clinicians from the Latin American region who specialize in diagnosing and treating dengue. The purpose of the meeting was to generate discussions on the Integration of a dengue vaccine as an additional program for prevention and a control tool that can strengthen the process of decision-making. The Dengue Task Force members include:

  • Mexico – Jose Ramon Castaneda, Miguel Betancourt
  • Colombia – Gabriel Carrasquilla
  • Venezuela – Jaime Torres
  • Ecuador – Marcelo Aguilar
  • Peru – Eduardo Gotuzzo
  • Brazil – Joao Bosco Siqueira, Expedito Luna
  • Puerto Rico – Carmen Deseda​

 

Dengue Workshop
From Tuesday, May 19 – Wednesday, May 20, 2015 AHF, in partnership with the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Disease (SLIPE) and Florida International University (FIU), convened a Dengue Workshop inviting members of the Dengue Task Force, dengue KOLs and representatives from the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) from a number of dengue-endemic Latin American countries. The purpose of this workshop was to discuss dengue vaccination policy and implementation of vaccination programs in the Region. The Dengue Workshop was chaired by Dr. Joao Bosco Siqueira of Brazil and Dr. Gabriel Carrasquilla from Colombia served as secretary.

In addition to the Dengue Task Force members, participants of the Dengue Workshop included representatives from Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras Panama, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.

Santa Marta, Colombia
As a follow-up to the Dengue Task Force meeting, in regard to planning for country-specific outreach, AHF sponsored the participation of several Dengue Task Force members and a KOL in a 1.5 day Dengue Symposium, Retos en la Prevención Y Control Del Dengue Avances Y Proyección de la EGI-Dengue en la Región de las Americas” organized with the Colombia Ministry of Health as part of  the larger XVI Congreso Colombiano de Parasitología Y Medicina Tropical 2015 held in Santa Marta, Colombia October 21 -22.

End of Year Meeting
The AHF convened a meeting of the Dengue Task Force in December to review its year-long activities, and with the recent development of Mexico becoming the first country in the region to register the dengue vaccine,  plan additional activities to support continued education and advocate for the development of an effective dengue vaccination policy and support health authorities in the decision-making process for introducing and implementing the recently discovered dengue vaccine in 2016.

Click Here to view Retos en el Control del Dengue, Dengue Task Force members speaking about the dengue senario in Latin America.

Click the links below to read the related Dengue Articles: 

 


Varicella Task Force

In an effort to reduce the public health burden of varicella in Latin America, the Americas Health Foundation, in conjunction with the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (SLIPE), has created a working group entitled the “Varicella Vaccination Task Force,” which focuses on increasing the rates of vaccination against varicella (commonly known as chickenpox). This Task Force seeks to advocate for more effective programs and policies aimed at increasing the rate of varicella vaccination in the region. The development of the Varicella Vaccination Task Force, composed of nine experts in pediatric infectious diseases from throughout Latin America, is critical to advancing knowledge related to the prevalence, burden of disease, available vaccines and prevention strategies associated with varicella in Latin America.

The first meeting of the Varicella Vaccination Task Force was held on Monday October 19, 2015 in Lima, Peru. The main objectives of the meeting were to (1) discuss and consolidate information related to the epidemiology and disease burden of varicella in Latin America, and (2) generate the scientific rationale for developing a position paper on varicella prevention, including a series of recommendations for expanding coverage of varicella vaccination in the Region. During the meeting, members of the Varicella Vaccination Task Force noted that the introduction of the varicella vaccine in National Immunization Programs has accelerated in the past five years, and members of the Task Force strongly supported the need to expand access to the vaccine as an important strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality associated with varicella in Latin America.

In 2016, the Task Force developed the position paper which is now posted on the SLIPE website. Click here to read the paper.

Varicella Task Force Meeting Participants:

  • Dra. Maria Luisa Avila (Costa Rica)
  • Dr. Roberto Debbag (Argentina)
  • Dra. Mirella Vazquez (Mexico)
  • Dra. Maria Esther Castillo (Peru)
  • Dra. Catalina Pirez (Uruguay)
  • Dra. Sandra Beltran (Colombia)
  • Dr. Antonio J González Mata (Venezuela)
  • Dr. Eduardo Chaparro (Peru)
  • Dra. Mercedes Macias (Mexico)

For additional information on Varicella, click here.


Pertussis Task Force

The Americas Health Foundation (AHF), in partnership with SLIPE (Sociedad Latina Americana de Infectologia Pediatria), will convene a Pertussis Task Force comprised of clinicians from the Latin American region who specialize in diagnosing and treating pertussis and will constitute a series of meetings aimed at multiple audiences in Latin America. The purpose of the Pertussis Task Force Initiative is to promote awareness, increase medical knowledge, support the development and strengthening of vaccination policies, and advance key vaccination policy topics in the area of pertussis.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. While pertussis can affect children and adults, it most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age. Despite the widespread availability of 2 classes of effective vaccines, whole cell and acellular, Bordetella pertussis infection remains a global epidemic

The Pertussis Task Force’s formulation of recommendations for public health authorities in the Region will serve as an invaluable tool for guiding health professionals and private industry, while also serving to educate and build awareness among the public at large.


Influenza Task Force

The Americas Health Foundation (AHF), in partnership with SLIPE (Sociedad Latina Americana de Infectologia Pediatria), will convene an Influenza Task Force comprised of clinicians from the Latin American region who specialize in diagnosing and treating influenza and will constitute a series of meetings aimed at multiple audiences in Latin America. The purpose of the Influenza Task Force Initiative is to promote awareness, increase medical knowledge, support the development and strengthening of vaccination policies, and advance key vaccination policy topics in the area of influenza.

 Influenza is a highly infectious, acute disease caused by A, B, and C influenza viruses. Over the last decade, the majority of high-income countries and several low- and middle-income countries have recommended that individuals receive seasonal influenza vaccines, viewing it as a serious threat to public health. Seasonal influenza imposes a high morbi-mortality and economic burden in Latin America. Reflecting the seriousness of this disease in the region, as of 2011, 41 countries in the Americas had policies for influenza vaccination.

The Influenza Task Force’s formulation of recommendations for public health authorities in the Region will serve as an invaluable tool for guiding health professionals and private industry, while also serving to educate and build awareness among the public at large.