August 31, 2009 13:24 ET

Canada Increases Support to Health Programs in Paraguay

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2009) - The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board, announced today, on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, that Canada will increase support to the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) program for the prevention and control of priority communicable diseases. Minister Toews made the announcement during his visit to Paraguay, where he is meeting with officials from the Paraguayan government and aid officials.

Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is increasing its funding for the PAHO program by CAD$1.9 million, bringing Canada's total assistance to the program to CAD$12.2 million since 2002, and extending it through July 2011. Building on the successful results obtained to date, this new commitment will focus on four South American countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru.

"Canada is proud to support this program, which assists Paraguay in preventing and managing communicable diseases - from cooperation on national policies and improving the training of health practitioners to responding to the needs of local communities," said Minister Toews.

"Combating diseases affecting those living in poverty in the southern hemisphere is essential to helping them find a brighter future. Through this PAHO program, Canada's support is addressing the impacts of these diseases on thousands of Paraguayans living in poverty," said Minister Oda.

In Paraguay, chagas disease is a harsh reality for the people of the Chaco Region. Through CIDA, this PAHO program will help up to 8 thousand households, principally children, reaching more than 20,000 youngsters under the age of five, develop an effective surveillance system to control and manage the disease. More than 200 health professionals (physicians, nurses, nurse auxiliaries and health promoters) will receive training in integrated management of childhood diseases.


The Prevention and Control of Priority Communicable Diseases program, within the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), is receiving an extension of funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). This disease-prevention program tackles the most widespread communicable diseases affecting vulnerable people living in hard-to-reach communities in South America.

Based on the program's positive results, and responding to a request from PAHO, CIDA is increasing its funding for the program by CAD$1.9 million, bringing Canada's total assistance for this program to CAD$12.2 million since 2002.

The program has achieved significant results to date. In Paraguay, a community surveillance system to measure and monitor infestation by the Chagas disease vector was implemented in three departments. In Peru, Paraguay and Ecuador, the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses strategy was accepted and incorporated in 33 undergraduate and post-graduate schools, which provide training for health professionals. The Integrated Management Strategy for dengue fever was adopted as the national strategy in Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Paraguay.

The project extension will allow for the following: the expansion of Chagas disease-control and management activities in new geographic areas in Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru; inclusion of congenital Chagas disease as a target disease in all four countries; the inclusion of community-based entomological surveillance as a component of the dengue strategy in Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru; the expansion of the integrated health program in the Chaco region of Paraguay; and the continuation of activities to support the elimination of congenital syphilis in Paraguay.

New activities in Paraguay will include the following: training of an additional 200 health professionals in childhood illnesses to serve a population of 20,000 children under the age of five; continued support for the fight against sexually transmitted infections and the elimination of congenital syphilis in the country; and the consolidation of an established community-based Chagas vector surveillance system involving about 5,000 to 8,000 households in the Chaco region.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Jean-Luc Benoit
    Director of Communications
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office