PAHO director wants countries in region to adopt ‘one health policy’ as she highlights COVID-19 challenges

Director of the Pan American Health Organization Carissa F Etienne

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) began its 59th Directing Council on Monday, with its director, Dr. Carissa F Etienne, calling for the adoption of a “one health policy to enable greater collaboration and coordination in addressing health issues, as she presented her annual report focusing on the assistance the hemispheric body has provided to member states in responding to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID- 19).

Dr. Etienne presented the annual report of the Organization, summarizing the technical cooperation provided to member countries.

The Dominican-born PAHO official presented the report, which covers the period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, to regional health authorities, including Caribbean health ministers, who are attending the meeting virtually. five days of the Governing Council.

“The theme of this report – Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic – has been chosen to reflect the difficult times and unprecedented challenges through which we have navigated in providing our technical cooperation during these past twelve months of the continued of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Etienne as he presented the report.

“As countries focused on the response to COVID over the past 18 months, some essential public health programs, such as immunization, cancer, malaria, HIV and tuberculosis and maternal health, have been interrupted. with significant negative impacts.

“What is remarkable is that after every disaster, whether it is a natural disaster, a major epidemic like Ebola or even a financial crisis, we all reaffirm our commitment to rebuild the health systems and, sadly, this pandemic has demonstrated that our continued failure to deliver on this commitment does indeed come at a high price in terms of millions of lives lost and also economies destroyed,” she said.

Dr Etienne said she wanted to urge all Member States to invest in their health sectors “and quickly ensure their transformation so that they have the capacity to meet the daily needs of all and better respond to pandemics. and other disasters when they occur”. ”.

She also said that the spread of the SARS CVID-2 virus in human populations and the consequence of the global pandemic “should leave us in no doubt that adopting a one-health approach is even more critical. now given the shrinking global village we live in.

“The One Health Proposal will allow for greater coordination, collaboration, buy-in and engagement of police across the various sectors of human, animal, plant and environmental health, mass deforestation and habitat destruction as well as many other activities have intensified contact between animals, people and pathogens,” she added.

The report details a wide range of technical assistance from PAHO, including the delivery of vital equipment and supplies for COVID-19, and assistance in key areas such as routine vaccination, disease prevention non-communicable diseases and increased access to health care.

It also describes and summarizes achievements in all major areas of PAHO technical cooperation: health emergencies; health systems and services; communicable diseases and environmental determinants of health; family, health promotion and life course; non-communicable diseases and mental health; evidence and information for health action; and gender, equity and cultural diversity.

The report details PAHO’s work to improve internal efficiency and strengthen its support and facilitation of technical cooperation. It further outlines PAHO’s efforts to ensure continued transparency and accountability in all of its operations.

“I am pleased to report that despite immense difficulties and complications, the work of the Organization has continued unabated, striving, as always, to uphold these values ​​of fairness, excellence, solidarity, respect and integrity of PAHO, within the overall framework of Pan Americanism,” said Dr. Étienne.

Jamaican Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, will chair the Directing Council meeting, which PAHO says will analyze and discuss the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

An update on COVID-19 in the region will also be provided on Wednesday, PAHO said, adding that discussions will also focus on resolutions, policies and roadmaps to increase production capacity of essential drugs. and health technologies in the region, to revitalize immunization. as a public good, digitally transforming the health sector, building resilient health systems and ensuring post-pandemic recovery, among others.

He indicated that a series of side events to the Governing Council will take place during the week.

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