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Introduction: Identification of Candidate Diseases

The conference participants' consideration of candidate diseases and conditions for elimination or eradication included overviews for each of the four basic disease categories -- noninfectious conditions, and bacterial, parasitic, and viral diseases. The conditions and diseases highlighted in the overviews were identified during the spring of 1997 through a survey of persons invited to the conference.

The survey form was sent to 167 invited participants and 109 responded. The form enumerated conditions or diseases in each of the four basic categories and provided spaces for listing additional conditions. Each recipient was asked to rank, for each group, up to four conditions to be considered during the conference. Although the set of conditions reflected a strong level of agreement, it was not intended to constrain workgroup decisions from deleting some or adding others.

Following the overview, the workgroups received a charge and a framework for addressing important issues and candidate conditions. There were two primary goals for each of the four condition-specific workgroups (a fifth workgroup addressed the topic of sustainable health development): first, to agree on the set of specific candidate conditions to be addressed by the group; and second, for each of the agreed-upon candidate conditions, by using the fact sheets and additional information, to deliberate and specify basic considerations, including essential facilitating factors (e.g. research and technologies, political/organizational will, and partnerships), key strategies to accomplish the objective(s), research needs, and relevant conclusions and recommendations regarding the elimination/eradication of the condition. Each workgroup was led by two co-chairs, and each group had a principal rapporteur. Each full workgroup was required to achieve a high level of agreement on the core elements and recommendations.

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