PAHO Director, Dr. Mirta Roses, and the Peruvian Minister of Health, Oscar Ugarte Ubilluz, today signed an agreement to establish in that country a Regional Task Force on Water and Sanitation (ETRAS by its Spanish acronym) for the purpose of advising countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in basic sanitation, with emphasis on neglected and vector-borne diseases and on improving living conditions in general.
Ugarte Ubilluz thanked the confidence of PAHO in Peru for the installation of ETRAS, both in the previous stage – when it functioned as the Pan American Center of Engineering and Environmental Sciences (CEPIS by its Spanish acronym) in that country – as in the one starting now from the signing of this new agreement. “The topic of water, drainage and sanitation is a vital one,” said the minister and mentioned that the Peruvian government “is making a big public investment in its general infrastructure, in health and in sanitation and drainage in both urban and rural areas.”
According to the functionary, the country went from having in 2006, 70% coverage in water and less than 50% in drains, to the current 90% and 70%, respectively.
Dr. Roses recognized Peru’s efforts to reduce poverty, “something that creates human dignity,” she said, and mused: “It’s easy to create, difficult to transform, and even more difficult to create processes.”