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Disease control programs, particularly those featuring effective primary prevention have been very successful at reducing or eliminating infectious disease threats. Vaccination in particularly has been highly successful, with immunisation programs responsible for preventing millions of deaths worldwide. The eradication of smallpox and elimination of diseases such poliomyelitis and measles from many parts of the world are examples of this success.
However, there are many infectious diseases for which control programs can be improved. In addition there remain broad categories of disease deriving from largely infectious causes that result in high rates of morbidity and mortality in different settings. In this assessment task, the aim is to investigate new or modified disease control strategies that aim to improve control in these broad categories of disease. In addition you should provide a reasoned argument outlining the positive and negative aspects of implementing your chosen strategy.
While we have provided the broad areas in which to focus below, there is considerable freedom in choice of focus strategy and setting. Focus strategies could include those which are targeted at specific causes of disease (such as immunisation against a single pathogen), or broader approaches that target multiple causes or that reduce the severity of disease.1. Briefly describe the epidemiology for the selected disease category in the country, highlighting the most important individual causes, any substantial changes over time and key risk factors (e.g. age etc.)
2. Describe the main disease control strategies currently used in your selected country for targeting this category of disease and briefly summarise evidence of effectiveness in this setting (if available). As there may be several different control strategies used, you will need to prioritise and highlight the key ones, perhaps through a table.
3. Consider other options to improve disease control, based on interventions used in other settings, published research or a control strategy of your devising. You should briefly outline 3 such strategies that are plausible options in relation to your country setting but not currently used. These can include modifications to currently used strategies (for example, proposals to expand the coverage of existing strategy).
4. For one of these three control strategies provide a more detailed summary of the intervention, drawing on evidence of effectiveness, acceptability and value for money (e.g. cost effectiveness). It is important that the strategy is clearly defined (e.g. the population targeted through the strategy, the disease control tools involved) and the objectives clearly stated (e.g. to reduce mortality in children less than 5 etc.). You should also consider how this strategy would be implemented and monitored.
5. Do you think your chosen setting should introduce this new/modified strategy? Describe potential positive and negative outcomes associated with implementation and, considering the evidence described in earlier tasks, provide a recommendation to the health minister on whether to implement the strategy.
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