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Director's Five-Year Report 2018-2022: Advocating for Health Equity for Sustainable Development - PAHO/WHO

WASHINGTON, DC September 26, 2022 (PAHO/WHO – Ensuring health equity remains at the forefront of efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the focus of the Director’s Five-Year Report 2018-2022. The report was presented today by the Director of WHO Pan American Health (PAHO) Carissa F. Etienne to Ministers of Health and other health leaders at the 30th Pan American Health Conference.

The report, the last for Dr. Etienne in her decade-long tenure as Director of the Pan American Health Organization, summarizes the organization’s work in all technical areas, including public health emergencies, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, and health systems and services, over the course of the year. The past five years.

The five-year report highlights the impact of COVID-19 on amplifying existing inequalities in the Americas, but also emphasizes that the pandemic has provided the region with an opportunity to rebuild societies that “do not trample and ignore those in vulnerable situations, but rather seek to help them reach optimal levels.” of physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness.”

“Although COVID-19 has slowed the region’s progress toward its health goals, it has not broken us, and provided many lessons and experiences that we can use to redouble our efforts and offset setbacks in some areas,” said Dr. Etienne.

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, response to health emergencies and disasters has been at the forefront of WHO’s work over the past five years. This includes the development of the SMART Hospital Network, which began in 2015 and has since facilitated the retrofitting of 50 health facilities in the Caribbean to become safe, green and resilient to climate-related disasters.

While the coverage of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DTP3) decreased from 84% in 2019 to 80% in 2021 due to the closure and focus on vaccination against COVID-19 in the region, routine immunization remains a major focus of PAHO collaboration. “Vaccines are working so well that many people are not aware of the diseases that have been prevented, diseases that have been a disaster in the population, especially children,” said Dr. Etienne. “We don’t want to see those tragic results repeat.”

The contribution of the Pan American Health Organization’s Revolving Fund to Access to Vaccines is also a key element of the report – both to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for the region, and also for its key role in rapidly expanding the comprehensive vaccine portfolios of participating members states. In 2021, the value of purchases made by the Revolving Fund on behalf of Member States amounted to $1,075.6 million.

The report also reflects the ongoing work of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to ensure universal health coverage, including the Regional Primary Health Care Compact for Universal Health, PHC 30-30-30, launched in April 2019, as well as the organization’s ongoing quest to eliminate On diseases such as malaria, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease, and others.

Over the past five years, PAHO has also made great strides in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including advocating for policies to increase taxes on unhealthy products such as tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages, and scaling up FCTC-compliant interventions. .

Reflecting on the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Pan American Health Organization on December 2, 2022, Dr. Etienne emphasized that while many steps have been taken in the journey towards equitable health and sustainability, there is still much that needs to be done.

And while many see words like “equity,” “human rights” and sustainability “as just buzzwords, PAHO and PAHO member states are already taking them very seriously,” she said.

“PAHO remains vibrant, innovative, passionate about learning, ready to build on successes and meet emerging challenges, with staff and partners dedicated to serving the health of the peoples of the Americas,” emphasized Dr. Etienne.

“I pass the baton in this marathon about 120 years of service for PAHO,” she said. “I wish the incoming PAHO Director and the PASB team all the best in their management and contribution to the health of the people of the Americas and sustainable development in the region.”