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LUZ, Zélia M. P.; CARNEIRO, Mariângela; SCHALL, Virgínia  and  RABELLO, Ana. The organization of health services and visceral leishmaniasis: an integrated intervention to improve diagnosis and treatment. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.5, pp.1177-1184. ISSN 1678-4464.

The objective of this study, carried out in municipalities located in a metropolitan region of Brazil, was to promote the early diagnosis and prompt treatment of visceral leishmaniasis. In the intervention model a health professional underwent training that covered all procedures involved in assisting patients with suspected visceral leishmaniasis. The professionals then returned to their municipalities where they implemented a workplan with the following aims: (a) at least one physician able to diagnose and treat patients; (b) training of professionals for the laboratorial diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis; (c) delivery of information on visceral leishmaniasis to the health workers. The implementation process was evaluated by follow-up meetings. Attendance of health professionals at the meetings, implementation of the workplan, and the visceral leishmaniasis case fatality rate before (1998-1999) and after (2001-2002) implementation of the model were used in the analysis. Among the 36 municipalities in the region, 22 were enrolled. Eight (36.3%) guaranteed at least 50% attendance in the meetings, and 14 (63.6%) had less than 50% attendance with no activities implemented. The fatality rate decreased in the municipalities that implemented the activities.

Keywords : Visceral Leishmaniasis; Health Services; Lethality.

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