PAHO Executive Committee begins debate on strategies and plans for improving the health of the Americas

The Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today begins discussions of health strategies and plans of action to improve the health of the Americas, including items on sustaining measles elimination, human resources for universal health coverage, tobacco control strengthening, and the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2018-2030.

The committee is composed of nine Member States, and makes recommendations on public health issues that will be considered by the Pan American Sanitary Conference. It begins its 160th session at the headquarters of the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Chaired by Argentina, the committee meets through June 30 to discuss strategies and plans, developed in consultation with its Member States, which guide regional cooperation.

Key topics to be addressed include action plans to ensure the sustainability of the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome and for the strengthening of vital and health statistics.

They will also address the human resources strategy for universal access to health, and the strategy and plan of action to strengthen tobacco control in the Americas.

“Since our last meeting, the world has changed drastically and we are continually exposed to economic, environmental, geopolitical, social and technological risks,” said PAHO / WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne.

However, “PAHO has continued to work diligently and systematically with its Member States to move towards the achievement of shared regional health goals,” she added.

She detailed those achievements, including progress towards achieving universal health access and coverage, strengthening preparedness and response to emergencies, and eliminating infectious diseases such as measles, onchocerciasis, trachoma and mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.

During the meeting, representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States will also address a policy on ethnicity and health, and the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2018- 2030.

“We hope that this strategic instrument will provide the direction and the political vision for the development of health in the Region during the next 13 years,” said Etienne at the opening of the meeting.

The Executive Committee will also receive information on the election process of the Director of PAHO, to be held during the Pan American Sanitary Conference in September of this year. Members will also address the 2018-2019 budget of the organization.

The deliberations of the Committee will determine the final agenda to be addressed during the 29th Pan American Sanitary Conference, which will meet from September 25 to 29 of this year.

The Executive Committee functions as a working group of the Pan American Sanitary Conference and the Directing Council of PAHO. It is composed of nine Member States elected by the Pan American Sanitary Conference or the Directing Council of PAHO to serve for three-year periods.

It meets twice a year or more frequently if there is a special request of the Director of PAHO or at least three Member States.

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