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  Echinococcosis/hydatidosis- surveillance, prevention and control: FAO/UNEP/WHO guidelines
The need for the elaboration of strategies and methods for control of zoonoses and foodborne diseases was recognized by the Thirty-first World Health Assembly held in May 1978. In its resolution WHA31.48 on "Prevention and control of zoonoses and foodborne disease due to animal products", the Assembly invited Member States to formulate and implement countrywide programmes for the control of these diseases as an integral part of national health programmes and requested the Director-General to promote the extension of a network of zoonoses centres in all regions, so that the necessary support can be provided to country health programmes. It also requested further development of national, regional and global strategies, and of methods for the surveillance, prevention and control of zoonoses and foodborne- diseases.

Following adoption of this resolution the WHO programme has been considerably strengthened and, at present, strategies and methods for control of selected zoonoses and foodborne diseases are being elaborated, taking into account also different epidemiological situations, such as specific animal-related human health risks in urban areas, large-scale animal production on intensive farms, areas of rapid ecological changes as well as health problems of food production, processing and distribution.

A worldwide network of WHO zoonoses centres is now being developed in order to provide essential technical cooperation to country health programmes with respect to zoonoses and related foodborne diseases. At present, services for such technical cooperation are available in the Region of the Americas through the Pan American Zoonoses Center. On 1 February 1979, the UNDP/WHO Mediterranean Zoonoses Control Programme with the participation of FAO began operations, the principal centre being located in Athens. one of the functions of the zoonoses centres will be cooperation with Member States in planning and implementation of their national programmes for control of specific diseases.

We sincerely hope that the strategies and methods as now being elaborated by WHO, in cooperation with other international organizations, and particularly FAO and UNEP, will facilitate the process of problem recognition, planning, definition of comprehensive countrywide programmes, goals, priority determination, initiation or strengthening of national projects and programmes by adaptation of principles contained in these guidelines. They aim at recognizing the important role of domestic animals and wildlife as reservoirs and transmitters of zoonotic and foodborne disease in both national and international health planning.

This matter has been neglected in many countries. This is because, on the one hand, the role of animals in the spread of human diseases has not been sufficiently appreciated, and on the other hand because the administrative and legislative provisions for interprofessional collaboration are inadequate. In addition, manpower and other facilities are lacking in most of the Member States, particularly in Africa and Asia.

The guidelines will also stress that, apart from the morbidity and mortality and the human suffering they cause, zoonotic diseases and foodborne infections and intoxications are responsible for great economic losses, particularly in meat, milk and other food and products of animal origin, and that cost-effective analysis is indispensable as part of preparations for planning effective control schemes.

There is no doubt that prevention, medical treatment and control of zoonoses and foodborne diseases are an important part of primary health care. In the elaboration of the various guidelines due attention has been paid to this important tool for the attainment of the goal of "health for all by the year 200C. In addition successful zoonoses and foodborne diseases control projects will contribute to other components of primary health care, including promoion of a safe food supply and proper nutrition, safe water supply (prevention of pollution animal sources), basic sanitation, etc. (see Article VII-3 of the Alma~Ata Declaration). The strategies and methods will also provide practical guidelines for the intersectoral coordination (Article V11-4 of the Alma-Ata Declaration).

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