PAHO Executive Committee concludes today with the adoption of 12 resolutions to improve health in the Region of the Americas – PAHO/WHO

Washington DC 29 June 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – The Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) ended its 172nd Session today, following discussions on a variety of pertinent public health topics, including pandemic response, vaccination coverage, strengthening human resources for health, strategic communications for behavior change, mental health and suicide prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in children, adolescents, and young adults, among other important issues.

As the Region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to take the “opportunity to accelerate action to recuperate lost public health gains and increase resilience in our health systems,” PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa said during the closing of the Executive Committee, which took place from 26-29 June.

Reaffirming the Organization’s “unwavering commitment to accountability, transparency, desire for improvement and continuous learning,” Dr. Barbosa welcomed the first external evaluation of the COVID-19 response among all World Health Organization (WHO) regions and highlighted the need to improve data and information systems for health to enable the Americas to better respond to future health emergencies.

The Executive Committee of PAHO also underscored the importance of the Regional Revolving Funds and pledged to improve efficiency and increase their visibility to increase access to vaccines and essential public health supplies.

While the Executive Committee noted positive strides towards recovering routine vaccination coverage since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Barbosa urged governments to focus on identifying existing vaccine inequities and to develop strategies to ensure 95% coverage of all essential vaccines, as well as to prepare for the introduction of relevant new vaccines.

“Rest assured that you can count on the Secretariat to provide you with the support necessary to meet these challenges,” Dr. Barbosa added.

Discussions during the Committee also focused on the importance of strengthening country capacity to improve access to medicines, diagnostics, and other health technologies, as well as the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues and other non-communicable diseases, which were hit areas hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding the Region’s significant advances towards the elimination of communicable diseases, such as malaria, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis, and trachoma, among others, the PAHO Director highlighted PAHO’s Elimination Initiative as the “driving force towards more integrated, effective, efficient and equitable health systems.”

After examining the tabled progress reports and final reports, Dr. Barbosa underscored that we will continue to build on our success but must remember that “much remains to be done to tackle persistent challenges.”

This week, the Executive Committee reviewed 8 progress reports, 5 final reports, and approved 2 policies, a strategy, a concept paper and the proposed program budget of PAHO for 2024-2025. These will now be presented to PAHO’s Directing Council in September this year.

The Executive Committee, which meets twice a year, is composed of nine Member States of the Organization, elected to serve for three years. Members currently serving on the Executive Committee include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Jamaica, Suriname, the United States of America and Uruguay.

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