Poverty linked to the loss of millions of jobs in the Caribbean and Latin America as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has become a source of concern.
Citing the International Labour Organization, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr. Carissa F. Etienne has said that the region has lost 26 million jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean-ECLAC, the number of poor people in the region had risen to 209 million by the end of 2020.
The figure represents 22 million more than in the previous year.
In making reference to the statistics, the PAHO Director said they represent an unprecedented rise in poverty levels.
Etienne was addressing the 168th Session of PAHO’s Executive Committee on Monday.
She warned that PAHO and member countries must turn the tide on the COVID-19 pandemic, while protecting hard-won health gains such as elimination of indigenous transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases, elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis, and elimination of Chagas disease and malaria.
“Will we ultimately win this war given the gaps and challenges that continue to emerge on a daily basis? I would answer, unequivocally, yes, as we have won the day many times before during our 118 years of working with you, our Member States, to improve the health and well-being of the peoples of the Americas,” Dr. Etienne told participants in the meeting.
“This is why we must begin today to plan for the recovery and the post-COVID era towards sustainable development for all,” she declared.