The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, took part in the 17th National Health Conference, which takes in Brasilia from 2-5 July. The event is one of the country’s most important on public health.
During the Conference, the PAHO director highlighted that now that COVID-19 has left its acute phase, it is essential that all lessons learned are transformed into actions so that the world is better prepared for future emergencies that may arise.
“This is the least we can do to honor the millions of people who died during the pandemic, as well as the health workers who did not shy away from providing care, even while risking their own lives,” he said.
Dr. Barbosa also highlighted the need for Latin America and the Caribbean to produce more vaccines, medicines, and personal protective equipment for their populations.
“The first victim of the pandemic was solidarity,” he said. “Rich countries were able to buy three-to four-times as many vaccines as their population, while poor countries had tremendous difficulty getting access,” he stressed.
The PAHO director also highlighted the pandemic’s impact on priority health programs during this period.
He cited as examples the increase in maternal mortality after more than 20 years of continuous reduction, the drop in vaccination coverage, and thousands of people with hypertension, diabetes, and cancer lacking access to diagnosis, treatment and control during peaks of COVID-19 transmission.
“It is important that we take advantage of the visibility that the health sector gained during the pandemic to build resilient health systems, with better financing, strong primary care, close to the community, and solving people’s health problems,” he concluded.
Defend the Single Health System (SUS), Life and Democracy – Tomorrow Will Be Another Day
The 17th National Health Conference is organized by the National Health Council (CNS) and the Brazilian Ministry of Health, under the theme “Defend SUS, Life and Democracy – Tomorrow Will be Another Day.”
In her speech, Health Minister Nísia Trindade discussed the importance of joint efforts and regional collaboration for development to occur in a collective way. “Brazil will only move forward if we move forward together with the region of the Americas, if we raise our voices in defense of effective equality among nations. This is the strength we need, without giving up our differences, and strengthening our unity.
“Today we are the real and loving representation of resistance and hope for a health system for all people. It was the social struggle that led to the SUS in 1988. We have arrived at this 17th Conference through a path built and trodden by countless fighters so that health is not only the absence of diseases.” added Fernando Pigatto, President of CNS
The National Health Conference takes place every four years and is an important space for dialogue between government and society for the construction of public health policies.
This edition marks the end of a process that included municipal, state, and free conferences that included the participation of over 2 million people from all over Brazil.
The 17th CNS has 110 international participants, from 14 countries. From the Americas Region, delegations from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela are participating. Besides them, delegations from the countries of the European Region Spain, Switzerland, and Italy are also participating.
SOURCE: Pan American Health Organization/SLT