World health report

Executive summary

Infectious diseases

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became operational on 1 January 1996. WHO, one of its six cosponsors, provides epidemiological and technical support through epidemiological surveillance. Publications in 1996 dealt with HIV/AIDS counselling, action for children affected by AIDS, and combined infection with HIV and tuberculosis.

In the fight against tuberculosis, WHO continued to promote the directly observed treatment, short course (DOTS). By the end of 1996, over 80 Member States had adopted or were beginning to use the DOTS strategy, with an increase in cure rates to 90% in some countries.

WHO works with ministries and donors in developing countries to ensure continued financial support to countries where malaria is endemic. With this support the Organization in 1996 provided training in epidemic control, trained entomologists in selective vector control, gave technical assistance for malaria prevention and control, and issued guidelines for malaria control among refugees and displaced persons.

WHO, by collecting information at the global level, assists countries in defining high-priority zones for leprosy control and in mobilizing adequate resources for this purpose. During the year, the leprosy elimination campaign, with different target dates for elimination in different regions and countries, continued to be implemented by national staff with technical cooperation from WHO and other agencies and with the involvement of community volunteers and general health workers.