We are convinced that access to health information is an integral aspect of human rights, requiring us to network with partners that will enable us to expand our local and regional capacities and thus multiply the available social capital in our countries. In this regard, we are working on the use of emerging information technologies for information and knowledge management and have decided to adopt blogs as a new channel of communication for the Organization.
Mirta Roses Periago
3 May 2006. At the launching of the Blog.
More information: Blog 1st Anniversary
See BLOG articles and comments below…
See also: Speeches and Presentations
World AIDS Day 2011.
A 30 años del inicio de la epidemia de SIDA, los países de las Américas han progresado en la prevención y en el tratamiento del VIH, pero todavía les resta avanzar sobre desafíos cruciales para cerrar la brecha y revertir la epidemia. Los retos para la Región son la integración y sostenibilidad de la respuesta al VIH desde un enfoque de Salud Pública. Los esfuerzos de los países enfrentan dificultades por el estigma y la discriminación muchas veces desencadenados por normativas y prácticas o acciones de la sociedad que resultan en lamentables actos de violencia sobre las poblaciones más vulnerables.
Sin embargo, la región avanza en la respuesta enérgica al VIH, como en la salud materno-infantil y en el acceso universal al tratamiento del VIH. En el 50º Consejo Directivo de la OPS, en el 2010, los países se comprometieron a eliminar la transmisión materno-infantil del VIH y de la sífilis congénita para el 2015.
Hoy existen medios eficaces para eliminar las 5.000 nuevas infecciones de VIH en niños y los más de 164.000 casos de sífilis congénita que se reportan anualmente en las Américas.
Los avances están a la vista: en 2010 se realizaron pruebas de VIH y de sífilis a 61% de las embarazadas en América Latina y el Caribe; y otro 59% de las embarazadas VIH positivas recibieron antiretrovirales para prevenir la transmisión materno infantil.
De cada cien niños nacidos de madres VIH+ en 2010, se estima que sólo 15 se infectarán por VIH en América Latina y el Caribe (comparado con unos 35 si no hubiera intervenciones). Aún así, varios países requieren intensificar esfuerzos para mejorar la situación. Las autoridades nacionales, agencias internacionales, la academia, la sociedad civil y los socios para el desarrollo deben trabajar en conjunto para alcanzar metas nacionales y para eliminar las inequidades dentro de y entre los países.
Se debe fortalecer la capacidad de los servicios de salud materno infantil; en la universalización del acceso a la planificación familiar; y en reforzar la integración del VIH en los servicios de salud. En definitiva, se necesita mantener una respuesta sostenible y normalizada, con un enfoque de salud pública
Otro desafío es el acceso a los tratamientos antirretrovirales, un área donde la Región fue de las primeras en proveer tratamiento antiretroviral gratuito, logro que se obtuvo con el apoyo de la sociedad civil. De hecho, tiene la más alta cobertura entre las regiones en desarrollo, con un 63% de las personas con VIH que necesitan tratamiento (510.000 personas en 2010). Pero aún le falta avanzar, como por ejemplo en la equidad en el acceso: aunque la cobertura entre hombres y mujeres es similar (64 vs. 62%), los niños están en desventaja (39 vs. 64%).
Alcanzar el acceso universal al tratamiento es una meta prioritaria y también representa una medida de prevención, como demostraron estudios recientes donde el riesgo de transmisión de VIH en pareja serodiscordantes disminuyó hasta un 96% cuando el tratamiento antiretrovial se inició más temprano en la persona con VIH. Pese a que anualmente se registran unas 110.000 nuevas infecciones en América Latina y el Caribe, los inicios de tratamiento se mantienen en 40.000 casos al año.
El desafío es claro: debemos duplicar la cantidad de nuevos pacientes que inician tratamiento si queremos alcanzar el acceso universal para 2015.
Muchas personas desconocen su situación serológica. Mujeres pobres, jóvenes, y de áreas rurales no siempre acceden a las pruebas, y también los hombres, en particular los que tienen sexo con hombres, enfrentan dificultades, ya sea porque no saben dónde hacérsela, o no pueden pagarla o por el estigma asociado. La demora en el diagnóstico contribuye a que la Región tenga una mortalidad todavía elevada, en particular por la coinfección con tuberculosis.
Otro obstáculo está en el costo de los tratamientos. En América Latina y el Caribe, un 70% de los fondos para VIH se dedican al tratamiento y de eso, la mitad es para antirretrovirales. Los países utilizan esquemas múltiples, complejos y con un enfoque individualizado que presiona sobre los sistemas de suministros de medicamentos y genera riesgo de desabastecimiento de antiretrovirales.
La OPS propone fortalecer el enfoque de Salud Pública mediante un uso prioritario de esquemas más simples de administrar, con demostrada eficacia y costo accesible, como señala la iniciativa de OMS/ONUSIDA “Tratamiento 2.0”
Después de tres décadas trabajando por mejorar la calidad de vida de los pacientes de VIH y por el control de la epidemia. Sabemos que cada éxito alcanzado trae consigo un nuevo desafío. Tenemos que pasar de la etapa de emergencia a la de respuesta efectiva a largo plazo, en la que se promuevan enfoques sostenibles y centrados en la Atención Primaria de la Salud. Es posible lograr esto a través del trabajo conjunto con todos los actores, incluida, la sociedad civil, para promover el abordaje del VIH desde el enfoque de derechos humanos.
* Mirta Roses Periago Director, PAHO/WHO Pan American Health Organization
A valuable goal scored against polio
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently marked up a valuable goal in the fight against polio by obtaining the support of the FC Barcelona Club and its foundation in the final battle to eradicate polio from the face of the Earth. We know very well that the objective is achievable, since we succeeded in reaching it in the Americas in 1991. I had the great pleasure of being present in Washington, D.C., along with the Deputy Director of our Organization, Jon Andrus, to witness the formal commitment of Bill Gates, Josep Guardiola, and Andrés Iniesta, as well as my compatriot Lionel Messi and many others, to this struggle. As I have pointed out repeatedly, public health requires and generates a grand partnership among myriad actors from all fields. This partnership to fight polio is exciting, since the Barcelona players can no doubt be immensely helpful in raising awareness and promoting the commitment needed for the home stretch in eradicating polio.
A great deal of progress has been made in two decades, from victory in the Americas in 1991 to success in most of the world’s countries today.
[ This little Peruvian boy (pictured above) is Luis Fermín Tenoria. Luis was the last child in the Americas to be paralysed by indigenous wild poliovirus, first showing symptoms of the disease on 5 September 1991. ]
This year, polio has cropped up only in 14 countries, and there are but four in which it has never been possible to halt transmission of the disease: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria. Thanks to unflagging vaccination campaigns, the number of cases has been reduced by 99%. But the presence of polio, even with so few cases, continues to be a risk for all, since as long as the disease persists in some enclaves, it can spread to other countries. Hence, the final phase in the fight against polio is not only a difficult challenge that, when successfully met, will prevent unnecessary suffering, but a public health action with global benefits. Therefore, we particularly value the commitment of the FC Barcelona Club, the Gates Foundation, and the many other stakeholders involved, such as Rotary International, to working alongside organizations such as ours, whose efforts are devoted to international health.
In the worldwide eradication of a disease, the final phase is vitally important and beneficial to all. That is why I have repeatedly—and most recently in a letter to Mr. Gates, following the announcement that I am now commenting on—stressed the commitment of the Pan American Health Organization to providing technical support to several African countries in this decisive phase of the fight against polio. The innovative strategies that led to success in the Americas, and the lessons learned in the course of that effort, have been, and continue to be, highly useful in the fight against polio.
Some of the lessons learned during polio eradication in the Americas are worth mentioning:
• The effort was an initiative of, by, and among the countries, whose progress toward the goal aroused passion and commitment. They knew that the goal only made epidemiological sense if reached simultaneously in all the countries. A risk to any was a risk to all. The countries supported each other and shared their human and financial resources, creativity, and frustrations, and 20 years after reaching the goal, are proud to continue polio-free.
• An entire generation of workers committed itself to the effort and grew with it. Epidemiologists, pediatricians, journalists, nurses, politicians, community workers, mayors, people from the private sector, workers’ cooperatives, rural dwellers and farmers, lay midwives, public transportation companies, and nongovernmental organizations were among those participating. Little by little, the community adopted a culture of prevention.
• The contribution of communities and the work of volunteers made the difference in reaching remote and hard-to-reach populations. Community leaders brought scattered populations together on the day vaccination teams arrived. Rotary Club members provided vehicles, served as drivers for vaccination brigades, and also took the responsibility of ensuring that there would be food for the work day. The effort was an example of social mobilization unprecedented in the recent history of public health in the Hemisphere.
• The commitment of all of society made the difference in confronting challenges that seemed extremely difficult to overcome, such as access to populations touched by armed conflict. Days of calm in the midst of civil wars, negotiated in high political circles, were agreed to and observed by combatants, their families, and the communities that supported the parties in conflict. Battles were suspended to make way for vaccination, and vaccinators were on many occasions guided and protected as they travelled over roads planted with mines.
• Progress such as that seen today in India show that obstacles that only six months ago seemed insurmountable can be overcome and that doors can be opened to a new way of thinking aimed at consolidating and maintaining achievements.
• The Interagency Coordinating Committees operated in each country and at the regional level. Thus, interagency cooperation mobilized resources and adjusted their allocation in response to periodic meetings held by the Ministries of Health.
• In the effort to eradicate polio, the countries made maps or sketches of each of their municipalities, ascertained how many children were born annually in their national territories, learned to program visits to communities to provide vaccination as well as oral rehydration solution, vitamins, antiparasitics, medical consultations, and drugs, in addition to conducting health education in the communities visited. In other words, there were wide-ranging public health benefits, reaching well beyond the original goal.
Polio eradication in the Americas also is a reminder of the critical role of vaccination for the well-being of our societies.
Their low cost in comparison with providing an entire lifetime of major individual and social benefits (a single dose of oral polio vaccine costs only US$0.13) makes them one of the most beneficial investments. We are also proud to see the enormous success of Vaccination Week in the Americas, which it is about to celebrate its tenth year, and hope that 2012 will see it become World Vaccination Week—but that is a subject for another blog. For now, suffice it to say that the contribution of the FC Barcelona players and coach will also help raise awareness about vaccination’s key role in preserving the health of all.
There can be no doubt that by joining the fight against polio, FC Barcelona and the Gates Foundation have scored a valuable goal on the field of public health—one for which all of us, regardless of what team we root for, must cheer!
- 20 Years without Polio in the Americas
- Immunization Newsletter April 2010: Americas Successfully Complete Phase 1 of Polio Containment
- PAHO Poliomyelitis WebPage
UN NCDs Summit is a crucial turning point in the world’s awareness and commitment to confronting this epidemic and for achieving health for all.
This September, the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) will first and foremost provide an opportunity for society to gain awareness of the importance of the NCDs and to mobilize and take action to effectively address this important health issue. “The great challenge will be what we do after September”. The need to tackle the problem of chronic non-communicable diseases from a multisectoral rather than simply a health perspective is a key point.
Simultaneously we will be celebrating Wellness Week, a series of events and activities that promote healthy living in a healthy environment, which will be open to everyone from September 16 to 21, 2011.
PAHO-UNite in the Fight Against NCDs/ OPS-UNete a la lucha contra las ENT
The UN HLM on NCDs, to be held in New York will provide a venue for obtaining greater commitment from international partners and for establishing the issue as a United Nations development priority.
We can expect that the UN High-level meeting on NCDs, will lead to:
• Greater awareness among world leaders of the social and economic development implications of NCDs, particularly for the poor.
• Inclusion of NCDs as a development priority of the UN agenda since it is impacting already the growth potential of developing countries.
• A changed perception that NCDs are much more than a health problem and therefore warrant responses by all sectors, beyond the health sector.
• Increased commitment by international organizations for financial and technical support to countries, acknowledging the urgency of having NCDs included as part of their agendas.
PAHO, as the WHO regional office of the Americas, is committed to follow up on the decisions, which will emerge from the UN HLM on NCDs. We will continue working with our constituents, namely the Ministers of Health in the Americas and partners, to catalyze and support the translation of the UN outcome document to policy and practice. First, and foremost, we will continue to advocate for NCDs, with policy makers and leaders and working with our civil society networks such as the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the Healthy Latin America Coalition.
We will host a “Wellness Week” initiative at the time of the UN HLM in New York City and other cities, as a public awareness and advocacy effort to call attention to health and wellbeing and to celebrate, on an annual basis, NCD prevention and control.
Wellness Week seeks to develop a social movement on healthy settings for healthy living and increase awareness among individuals, policy makers, communities and employers. The objective of Wellness Week is to emphasize the importance of the built and natural environment and socioeconomic conditions in modifying the risk factors for non-communicable diseases and in promoting prevention.
This is an opportunity to use urban settings as spaces for changing or modeling behavior through the action of different sectors, activities are under way with local leaders, such as mayors, that combine the power of multisectoral interventions with that of the public sector to build consensus, and that this linkage will make a difference.
Several of the initiatives that PAHO/WHO will take will be to ensure that the issue of chronic non-communicable diseases remains on the development agenda, as well as on other agendas, those of policy-makers at such meetings as G-8 and G-20. PAHO/WHO is committed to continuing its work with the ministries of health of the Americas and with partners, to catalyze and reinforce practical and political actions as will be agreed upon in the document to be approved at the United Nations.
Our priority will be to focus on prevention of risk factors, giving special attention to childhood obesity and nutrition; supporting regulations and restrictions for alcohol use, tobacco control and marketing foods to children and adults in general. Primary Health Care is a main priority, and we will continue to work with Member States on models of health care for NCDs that are more people-centered, comprehensive and integrated through the development of Integrated Health Service Delivery Networks based on a strong Primary Health Care foundation.
Given that no one organization can do it alone, PAHO will be working through an innovative partnership platform which we have established with public-private partners, named the Forum for Action on Chronic Diseases. An emphasis in its first year will be on having mass media campaigns to promote health and wellbeing in the Americas and to engage the public and raise awareness about NCD prevention and control.
In the days leading up to, and following the UN HLM, it will be important for all of us to catalyze the momentum across all sectors. I hope all of you members of the health community and all social sectors and partners can take part in making the UN HLM on NCD a crucial turning point in the world’s awareness and commitment to confronting this epidemic and for achieving health for all.
* PAHO Page on UN High Level Meeting on NCDs :
PAHO, Member of the Summit’s International Coordination Committee
PAHO, hosted the USA launching of the FIRST SUMMIT ON AFRODECENDENTS
Welcome, Ambassador Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro of Honduras and, of course, our ODECO Partners and organizers of this important Summit, Gilberto Amaya, Yimene Calderón, and our longtime friend, Celeo Alvarez.
Welcome colleagues and friends to the “House of Health of the Americas”
We are honored to launch with you in the capital of the United States of America, this First Global Summit of African Descendents, which will take place in August in la Ceiba, Honduras.
We are delighted to be celebrating the International Year of African Descendants, which this Summit commemorates.
The United Nations General Assembly, in resolution A/RES/64/169, declared 2011 as the International Year of African Descendants. This pronouncement drew attention to national, regional and international support of African Descendants and promotion of: – their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights – their inclusion and participation in all spheres of society – their increased respect for and acceptance of diversity, and African heritage and culture
The Summit will bring together hundreds of organizations of Afro-descendant women and men, as well as their advocates, to celebrate this important year.
This celebration is important for recognizing the strength and resilience of Afro-descendant communities throughout the Americas, who have thrived despite historical discrimination and repression.
Not counting our North American and Caribbean sisters and brothers, our region has over 150 million Afro-descendant women and men, of whom approximately 90 million are in Brazil, and the rest living in Andean, Central American countries and Mexico, with smaller populations in the Southern Cone.
It is important to emphasize that this International Year of African Descendants provides an opportunity to right historical wrongs: in health, education, poverty, land rights, jobs, and financial credit for economic and social progress.
Unfortunately, history has relegated too many minority Afro-descendant communities to poverty and exclusion. In health, our still-limited statistics tell us that, starting at birth, Afro-descendant babies are more likely to die than their more privileged white brothers and sisters, their mothers are also more at risk during child birth, and while growing up, Afro-descendant children and adults experience more ill health. Adult men have much higher rates of homicide and HIV. Teen pregnancy is more prevalent, while equal access to health services and contraceptives remains a challenge.
This year is a time to celebrate the power of Afro-descendant organizations in challenging and changing these inequalities.
Their activism joined forces from around the globe during the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This conference produced the Durban Declaration, which aims to eradicate, once and for all, these detrimental forces.
I want to give special recognition to ODECO—the Ethnic Community Development Organization—a Honduran-based organization that is organizing and mobilizing support for the Summit.
PAHO is very proud to be part of the development community that has supported ODECO.
We supported ODECO as a national and grassroots organization of Afro-Hondurans, with water projects in Carifuna communities and as a national political advocate for establishing a government ministry on racial affairs.
ODECO has provided global leadership by bringing together people from all over the world to celebrate their African heritage and their achievements at this Summit.
PAHO is a privileged member of the Summit’s International Coordination Committee and host to this USA launch.
We will join our development partners, civil society organizations, afro-Descendant leaders—both women and men, and our partners from ODECO in La Ceiba in August to celebrate this important Summit.
Together we will celebrate the International Year of African Descendants, to be followed by the International Decade, and advocate for lives free from discrimination and exclusion, and for equal opportunities to achieve the highest possible level of “health for all in the Americas”.
IX Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA)
23-30 de April de 2011.
La Organización Panamericana de la Salud asegurando el derecho a la prevención mediante la vacunación en las Américas.
La mayor acción solidaria organizada de las Américas abarcará este año más de 45 países y territorios en todo el continente y beneficiará a 41 millones de personas: se trata de la IX Semana de Vacunación de las Américas (SVA).
Bajo el lema “Vacuna a tu familia, protege a tu comunidad”, la movilización de la enorme red por el bienestar panamericano a través de la salud pública está motivando a las otras Regiones del mundo a desarrollar iniciativas similares.
Este año lo están haciendo África y la Región del Pacífico Occidental, sumándose a las ya impulsadas por Europa (desde 2005) y el Mediterráneo Oriental (2010). La Región del Sureste Asiático iniciará este año sus preparativos con una misión observadora a la SVA.
¡Ya podemos vislumbrar el sueño de la Semana de Vacunación Mundial materializado para 2012!
Los enormes logros hemisféricos con el Programa Ampliado de Vacunación se evidencian en la erradicación de la poliomielitis y de la transmisión autóctona de sarampión, y en la eliminación de la rubéola y el síndrome de rubéola congénita (SRC). Entretanto, Europa experimenta en estos días un brote de sarampión que ha afectado a miles de personas.
Una clave del éxito alcanzado es el Fondo Rotatorio de la OPS. Con este mecanismo de cooperación solidaria, único en el mundo, 40 países y territorios de Latinoamérica y el Caribe consolidan su demanda y obtienen importantes economías de escala, abastecimiento continuo de vacunas de alta calidad y precios más bajos.
Estudios comparativos demuestran un ahorro neto de por lo menos 11% en el costo de las vacunas y las compras del Fondo han crecido más del doble entre 2005 y 2010, adquiriendo en este último más de 150 millones de dosis, sin incluir la vacuna contra el H1N1.
Asimismo, el Fondo Rotario ha sido crucial para la programación de inversiones por parte de los productores al asegurarles una demanda estable, un financiamiento sostenible de ésta y un mecanismo simplificado, reduciendo la incertidumbre y las pérdidas innecesarias.
De igual transcendencia es su papel catalizador para la introducción de nuevas vacunas, como las del rotavirus, neumococo y el virus del papiloma humano (VPH), al potenciar la capacidad negociadora y bajar el precio significativamente. Como ejemplo, el precio de la vacuna VPH se redujo a la mitad entre 2010 y 2011 para los miembros del Fondo.
La compra de nuevas vacunas creció dos veces y media entre 2008 y 2010, en el cual representó 40% del total de las compras regulares. En América hay 17 países y territorios que vacunan contra el rotavirus, de los cuales 14 utilizan el Fondo; y otro tanto ha introducido la vacuna neumococo, con 12 adquiriéndola mediante el Fondo.
Con mecanismos colaborativos exitosos como el Fondo Rotatorio, la masiva movilización social cada año durante la SVA y el compromiso de sectores políticos, empresariales, religiosos y comunitarios, junto al liderazgo del personal de salud y el apoyo de los medios de comunicación, podemos extender la red de protección de las familias y las comunidades asegurando el derecho a la prevención mediante la vacunación en las Américas.
- Mensaje por la Semana de Vacunación de las Américas
- Galería de fotos. OPS lanza la Semana de Vacunación en las Américas en la frontera entre Perú y Bolivia
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to review how much society has advanced when it comes to gender equality and to examine with a critical eye the worrisome trends that remind us of the many issues still pending.
This year is especially meaningful, since we are marking the 100th international observance of this day commemorating women’s valiant struggle for the recognition of their rights.
That is why this year, 2011, our Gender, Diversity, and Human Rights Office and UNAIDS have chosen to jointly highlight the gender equality perspective in health, with emphasis on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
A growing number of women in the Region of the Americas are contracting HIV.
In Latin America, the percentage of women out of the total number of persons with HIV has risen from 6% in 1994 to over 30% today. In the Caribbean countries, which have the second highest prevalence rate in the world after Sub-Saharan Africa, women account for 50% of the cases, with a particularly high prevalence in young women.
We recognize that this is influenced by greater biological susceptibility, since epidemiologic studies have shown that women are twice as likely as men to contract the infection when exposed. However, the main reason for the rapid growth of HIV prevalence among women in Latin America and the Caribbean is related to gender inequalities. Social norms as well as few educational and economic opportunities limit the possibility of negotiating safe sex for many women in the Region.
Women who ask their partners to use condoms are often at risk of physical or emotional abuse or accusations of infidelity or are even forced from their homes. Historical barriers, such as less control over resources, child-care responsibilities, or limited power in family decision-making, also impede women’s access to HIV testing and treatment services.
This underscores the importance, for example, of ensuring routine HIV screening tests for pregnant women. The aim is timely detection of HIV infection and the provision of care, as well as the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. The test should be done at the same time as the syphilis screening test. Nevertheless, the data show that in 2009, only 57% of pregnant women received these tests, and in 2008, only five countries had managed to cover 80% of pregnant women with these simple tests.
Consequently, Latin America and the Caribbean have the world’s highest prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women: approximately 460,000 cases of gestational syphilis each year, with 50- 80% developing serious adverse effects.
With regard to mother-to-child transmission of HIV, some 5,700 to 10,400 cases are recorded each year. Given the severity of these problems, the most recent PAHO Directing Council, held last September, adopted the Strategy and Plan of Action for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in order to achieve this objective by 2015.
Public health is a network of networks.
As I have noted on other occasions, public health is a network of networks that pools the efforts of many social actors. It is therefore very important to increase awareness of these problems and promote the development of good practices in the area of gender equality in health, particularly in response to HIV.
For this reason, in observance of International Women’s Day, we have awarded prizes to the winners of the competition held by the PAHO Gender, Diversity, and Human Rights Office and UNAIDS.
Forty-two activities from 16 countries were submitted to the competition for only two prizes. The jury selected:
. “Promoting sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV prevention in adolescents and youth living in marginal areas of Buenos Aires” – Argentina -. This project gives priority to key groups of juveniles, including youth living in poverty, HIV-positive youth, migrants, and indigenous people. The project has stressed consideration of the influence of gender roles on health care, attempting to build equitable relationships, promoting equal opportunities, and transforming the unequal relationship between the sexes.
. “Prevention in HIV-discordant couples” – Trinidad and Tobago – initiative that includes couples in which only one member has HIV. This initiative was highly successful despite its small budget and staffing limitations, managing to reach all HIV-discordant couples in its area of influence. Moreover, it had a multiplier effect, spreading throughout the island and getting all HIV-positive mothers, private physicians, communities, and religious leaders involved.
To the prize-winners, as well as those who carried out the other 40 initiatives that participated in the competition, our recognition and encouragement. They are working every day to promote the changes necessary to achieve true gender equality in public health and all areas of society. Each of us, to the best of our ability, can join in these efforts to create a more just, prosperous, and egalitarian society.
I invite you to join this noble crusade for gender equality and to work tirelessly to improve women’s health. No doubt about it, that is the best way to commemorate International Women’s Day.
. PAHO Press Release
* Mirta Roses Periago Director, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)
The First Cultural Diversity and Health Technical Advisory Group (TAG/CD) met on February 7 – 8 2011, to harness the expertise of the participants to ensure that cultural diversity is mainstreamed throughout all of PAHO’s work, and to create a concept paper to present to PAHO’s Governing Bodies, which encompasses a grander, broader understanding of cultural diversity and health. Representatives from Indigenous, Afro-Descendants and Rom populations participated in this meeting.
Over those days, TAG members were able to review PAHO achievements and challenges in integrating an intercultural approach in health information, policies and programs, present and consult on PAHO’s current (2010/11) and upcoming (2012-2013) biannual workplan in achieving equity in health of various ethnic populations, as well as in implementing PAHO Directing Council Resolution “Health of the Indigenous Peoples in the Americas,” which calls, among others, to develop strategic alliances with indigenous peoples and other key stakeholders to further advance the health of the indigenous women/men.
Through the various government representatives, international and UN agencies, and civil society organizations that participated in this event, PAHO looks forward to making great progress towards creating and implementing better understanding of diversity and health throughout all of PAHO’s work.
- Third Meeting of the Technical Advisory Group on Gender Equality and Health (TAG/GEH): Health Experts Seek Ways to Map Progress on Gender Equality
- PAHO Director at the Meeting of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) for Latin America and the Caribbean: UN Advancing Together: Gender Equality in Health in the Americas
- PAHO Gender, Diversity and Human Rights
Focusing our attention on water and sanitation issues has been and will continue to be a crucial part of PAHO’s work in the Region, especially as infectious diseases like cholera reemerge and climate change limits already scarce water resources. Water and sanitation issues most adversely affect the poorest and most vulnerable populations, including women and minorities, and PAHO’s commitment to equitable health is underlined in our fight for clean water and improved sanitation for all.
PAHO has worked with AIDIS, the Inter-American Association for Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, for over 60 years, and we were pleased to participate once again in their annual conference, held this year in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, from November 5th- 10th, 2010 where PAHO participated in both pre-conference symposiums on Water (“Toward a New Culture of Water) and Healthy Housing (Healthy Housing and Disasters), as well as in the conference itself.
At this time we stressed the renewed PAHO’s commitment to its technical cooperation with Member States on issues related to water for human consumption and sanitation in order to accomplish the “unfinished agenda” in our Region.
In order to face “water and sanitation” challenges, PAHO advocates for a stronger UN system to promote peace and human dignity – in which drinking water and sanitation play a key part. PAHO has renewed its goals and strategies to support this mission, and has begun to create “policy briefs” in accordance with the United Nations’ recent declaration defining access to water and sanitation as a human right.
Considering that no public health intervention has the potential to make a greater impact on the development of a nation and on individual and collective health, especially among children, pregnant women, and the elderly, than water, sanitation and hygiene combined.
I would like to take this opportunity to call upon sanitation companies and agencies, both public and private, as well as governments and populations to join forces and carry out effective and necessary actions so that access to water and sanitation is universal and helps to safeguard the health of the people, promote gender equality, and protect natural resources. Water and Sanitation are fundamental human rights that affect not only health, but also the dignity of human beings and the future of life in our Planet.
* Mirta Roses Periago Director, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)
The Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau invites PAHO Member States to submit nominations for the Administration Award 2011.
“The PAHO Award for Administration is a recognition conferred every year by the Governments of the Americas through their representatives in the meetings of the Governing Bodies of the Pan American Health Organization, in recognition of an outstanding contribution in the field of administration within the framework of the national health services. ”
This Award has a long tradition dating back to 1969 when it was instituted by Dr. Stuart Portner, former Chief of Administration of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau. The Award is conferred on a candidate who has made a significant contribution in his or her home country and in the Region of the Americas, to improving health development through the management or execution of services and programs, teaching, and research. An Award Committee consisting of three representatives from Member Governments of the Executive Committee selects the candidate among a list of nominations submitted by the Member Governments of PAHO through their ministries of health.
The Award consists of a diploma and the sum of US$5,000. The merit value of the Award, however, is immensely greater since it rewards excellence in administration at the national or local level, identifying substantial changes in terms of improvements in the management of health systems and services and its Regional impact.
The Award also inspires the continuous development of leadership in health and promotes the improvement in the management of national health systems and services. Although the emphasis is in the administration of health services, the candidate’s experience in teaching and research with a positive impact on public health activities at the national and/or international levels is also an asset.
The closing date for receiving nominations to the Award is 31 March 2011.
The names of candidates shall be submitted by the Member Governments of PAHO through their ministries of health. Proposed candidates shall be submitted together with their curriculum vitae and the documentation supporting the nature and quality of the work done.
As the Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau I wish to invite, moreover urge, the Member States to submit nominations for the Award.
The procedures and guidelines for submitting nominations may be found in the PAHO Award for Administration brochure in both languages English and Spanish, and also the Recipients of the PAHO Award for Administration.
* Mirta Roses Periago Director, PAHO/WHO Pan American Health Organization