The National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) of Latin American countries are leveraging their individual expertise and technology in an innovative joint effort to combat malaria, dengue and plague in the region. 

Dr. Juan Carlos Perez, INSPI director, was elected RINS coordinator

This unique intergovernmental linkage of NPHIs was further strengthened during the April 2-5 meeting of the Network of National Institutes of Health of the Union of South American Nations (RINS-UNASUR) in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  The directors of NPHIs or ministries of health from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Suriname formalized an ambitious plan to respond to and prevent the spread of public health threats in the region including vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and plague.

The meeting, organized by Ecuador’s National Institute of Public Health Research (INSPI), resulted in several new initiatives including those to:

  • Create a technical group in entomology to focus on evaluating, investigating, and tracking insecticide-resistant cases 
  • Create a technical group to explore fever-related illnesses and promote a harmonized guide to treating these
  • Study capacity in the region and promote technological transfer to allow for in-house production of diagnostic tools such as ELISA and PCR kits
  • Create a working group to prepare criteria and an algorithm for laboratory diagnostics
  • Create a “bank” of expertise available in the various institutes to help with NPHI-to-NPHI  evaluations of insecticide resistance
  •  Adopt a regional plague plan

In addition to technical sessions on malaria, dengue and plague, meeting attendees reviewed the cooperative plan developed during their 2011 meeting and elected new leaders.  Dr. Juan Carlos Perez, INSPI director, was elected RINS coordinator, Dr. Cesar Cabezas Sanchez, director of Peru’s National Institute of Health, was elected as alternate coordinator and Dr. Felix Rosenberg of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of Brazil (FIOCRUZ) was elected as Executive Secretary.

Courtenay Dusenbury

“IANPHI members in the region are important leaders of intergovernmental cooperative efforts that bring together the strengths of individual institutes into a powerful collaboration that benefits all South American nations,” said Courtenay Dusenbury, director of IANPHI’s U.S. Office, who participated in the meeting.  “This NPHI-to-NPHI benchmarking and collaboration is a powerful, cost effective tool for improving health outcomes in the region and throughout the world.”

More information on the meeting’s agenda and outcomes may be found at http://rins-unasur.org/


Photo (left): Juan Carlos Perez, Ecuador National Institute of Public Health Research (INSPI) director, was elected RINS coordinator