Equal access to vaccines, building resilient health systems, and regional production of health technologies were some of the vital issues at this high-level meeting.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) Executive Committee concluded its 168th Session with draft resolutions on key issues such as resilient health systems, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, and a comprehensive approach for addressing health threats at the human-animal-environment health interface, also known as "One Health."
"Our discussions have focused on agenda items that will allow us to both end the pandemic and to look forward to the post-pandemic era with an emphasis on better prevention, preparation and building back better towards holistic sustainable development with attention to equity, solidarity and leaving no one behind," PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne said at the close of the session on Thursday afternoon.
PAHO's Executive Committee is composed of nine Member States – Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti, Suriname, and the United States.
This session of the Executive Committee addressed reinvigorating immunization as a public good for universal health, increasing production capacity for essential medicines and health technologies, and the digital transformation of the health care sector.
The declaration of immunization as a public global good and the critical need to raise awareness of the life-saving potential of vaccines across a broad spectrum of advocates ranging from family members to health care workers is key to the elimination of vaccine preventable illnesses as well as for safeguarding our past gains, Dr. Etienne said.
Our discussions regarding the digital transformation of the health care sector in our region were particularly illuminating, she added. This coupled with the ambitious proposal for the application of data science and artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies will enhance health development efforts, Dr. Etienne stated.
A draft resolution on resilient health systems urged countries of the Americas to advance in transforming health systems based on the primary health care approach. It also asked them to increase and sustain public investments in health.
"I cannot overstate the urgent need to prioritize the building of resilient health systems," Dr. Etienne continued. "To this end, we have adopted a resolution which will allow us to focus on a host of structural and organizational issues not only to recover from the current crisis but also to recapture those lost public health gains and prepare for the future."
The draft resolution and other documents will be examined from 20-24 September this year by the Directing Council, which comprises all of the Member States of the Pan American Health Organization.