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PAHO Director Urges Collective Efforts To Transform Health Systems


During the opening of the 7th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, highlighted the importance of joining efforts to transform health systems, achieve universal health, and improve human security.

The event is being held in Bogotá, Colombia, under the slogan “Health Systems Performance in the Political Agenda: Sharing Lessons for Current and Future Global Challenges”.

“We have important work to do through conferences such as this, to reposition the value of science within our societies, and to strengthen institutional mechanisms that evaluate scientific evidence to guide future policymaking and actions in public health,” the PAHO Director said in a video intervention, recalling the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Whether we are looking at the assessment of therapeutics during pandemic times, or the impact of investments in primary health care, we need to increase our capacity to generate evidence based on research,” she added.

Etienne said this means greater collaboration between government and the scientific communities, increasing promotion and investment in health systems assessments and performance, and the adoption of research outcomes by policymakers. “And it means engaging more broadly society in the importance and merits of research, science, and the use of evidence,” she emphasized.

She reiterated that beyond COVID-19 we continue to face new threats such as the monkeypox outbreak, which was declared a public health emergency of international concern last July.

“The resilience of our health personnel and systems is again being tested as cases continue to rise in parts of our Region. Meanwhile, the burden of chronic disease continues to grow, with increasing rates of mortality, morbidity, and disability,” she said.

The PAHO Director called on researchers, policymakers, and government officials to keep the focus on the overarching goal of health systems that are inclusive, expansive, and resilient to the growing number of health threats in the context of a changing climate and world.”

Finally, she emphasized that PAHO remains committed to working with Member States, the scientific community, and society as a whole to generate, promote, and disseminate information for health actions based on the best evidence.

In December, the Pan American Health Organization celebrates 120 years of active work in the field of public health in the Americas.

SOURCE: Pan American Health Organization

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  1. It’s time to start looking at home for causes of poor health. Look at the constant and casual use if chemicals used here on our good. The chemical ROUNDUP had been proven to cause CANCER and other diseases. Yet, it is sold in every shop and used on gardens lawns, roadside.

  2. As part of the Health Systems Strengthening the government should look to increase the intake of doctor interns to help with capacity building. So many interns are waiting years before they get accepted into the internship program here … some even leave, which is so unfair. Plus aside from internship these doctors who have invested years into studies have no other alternative than to wait. These are people who have invested years into study and can’t get an internship because the government only takes in very few persons each year. Moreover preference is given to scholarship students whilst those who paid fully for their schooling are neglected. How is that fair?. Come on MOH do better for youth. There are students who studied here from overseas in our medical schools because they thought there was opportunity and they too are dealt a hard blow. We keep harping on about opportunities and here we are barely giving a chance to those who actually make an effort. Stop it! No wonder we struggle to retain talent in this country.

  3. More of the same. Undebatably, the region has an ultra rich and longstanding documented history of utilizing natural herbs to cure all sorts of ailments; yet little is being done to advance the rampant wealth of knowledge that is readily available in our hemisphere.
    I share great disappointment with those who walk the talk of so-called first-world countries whilst blatantly denying their own heritage.
    Transformation should connote: looking within, self-sustenance, and above all utilizing resources within one’s space to provide solutions to problems.
    We must only turn to other spheres to compliment and supplement determined needs.
    Afterall, it’s 2022.

  4. @ Linus, Meli and Isadora – all your points are so valid. I hope some of the local medical “professionals” and politicians read these comments. They sure could learn something. They also need to overhaul the mental health “system” in St Lucia. Most of all the comments from Linus about self-sustenance are so relevant to small island nations in the Caribbean and elsewhere such as the Pacific. We cannot compete on a global scale, but can work with what we already have towards self sufficiency especially in terms of food security natural complimentary health practices.


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