Integrated Approaches to Disease Control
Rotavirus, pneumococcal and HPV vaccines represent significant new interventions for reducing the burden of diarrhoeal disease, acute respiratory infections and cervical cancer. However, they are not the only new or established interventions for prevention and control of these diseases.
Zinc treatment for diarrhoea (and potentially for pneumonia), improved oral rehydration solution (ORS), antibiotics, exclusive breastfeeding, improved nutrition, safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene, are just a few of the other interventions that when applied effectively, can complement the impact of vaccines and together have a huge impact in reducing the burden of diarrhoea and pneumonia - the two largest killers of young children.
The WHO-UNICEF Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia was launched on 2 November 2009. Around the same time, WHO and UNICEF also published a document titled "Diarrhoea: why are children still dying and what can be done?". Both these documents articulate the burden of pneumonia and diarrhoea, the fact that effective interventions to reduce mortality from these two conditions are available and that the introduction of new vaccines against Hib, pneumococcus and rotavirus in developing countries offers the opportunity to simultaneously scale up the use of other complementary interventions and create synergies between different health programmes to maximize benefits. The strategies aim to scale up the use of interventions to prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea, protect children by addressing risk factors for disease morbidity and mortality, and provide timely treatment at the community level.
In the area of cervical cancer prevention and control, HPV vaccines offer an important new prevention tool. Until recently, cervical cancer prevention has consisted of screening and treatment of precancerous lesions of the cervix. Although the cervical screening approach has been very successful in a number of populations, lack of access or delayed access to screening has hampered prevention efforts. An integrated approach to cervical cancer prevention and control which combines HPV vaccination and cervical screening and which reaches girls and women, regardless of income, will reduce cervical cancer deaths, improve equity in cervical cancer prevention, and improve the health of women. The opportunity of introducing HPV vaccines has spurred many countries to begin developing national comprehensive strategies for cervical cancer prevention and control which incorporate HPV vaccine introduction and strengthening of cervical cancer screening activities.
Last updated: February 2011