CARIBBEAN-HEALTH-PAHO Dominican-born director presents platform for next five years

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WASHINGTON, Jul 2, CMC – The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, has presented her proposed platform for the next five years.
The Dominican-born health expert will assume another five-year term on February 1, 2018 after she will be elected director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (PASB) at the 29th Pan American Sanitary Conference here, from September 25-29.
Etienne has been PASB director since February 1, 2013 and according to the PAHO Constitution, she can be re-elected for a second five-year term.
PAHO said her candidacy was the only one that was presented by member states when they met on Friday.
President of the PAHO Executive Committee, Ruben A. Nieto, of Argentina, moderated the forum on Friday, during which Etienne “presented her platform, her policy priorities and the financial and programmatic direction she proposed for the organization”.
Etienne made a 30-minute oral presentation, which was followed by an hour question-and-answer session with member states, in accordance with the rules governing the election of the director.
Etienne was elected PAHO director by member states of the organization on September 19, 2012 and began her five-year term on February 1, 2013.
From March 2008 until November 1, 2012, she served as Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Prior to that, she led five technical areas: Health Systems and Services; Technology, Health Care and Research; Health Surveillance and Disease Management; Family and Community Health; and Sustainable Development and Environmental Health.
During her tenures at WHO and PAHO, Etienne led the efforts to renew primary health care and to strengthen health systems, based on primary health care, promoting integration and improved functioning of health systems.
PAHO said she has also spearheaded policy directions for reducing health inequalities and advancing health for all through universal coverage, people-centered care, the integration of health into broader public policies, and inclusive and participatory health leadership.
PAHO said the World Health Report 2010, “Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage, was produced under Etienne and WHO’s Deputy Director-General.
“The report is recognized worldwide for providing an agenda for action by countries at all stages of development to move more quickly and in a sustainable manner towards universal coverage, while proposing ways in which the international community can better support efforts to achieve universal coverage and improve health outcomes,” PAHO said.
It said Etienne has also led the WHO global agenda “to support universal access to safe and efficacious medical products and the development of a global code of practice for the international recruitment of health personnel.”
Meanwhile, the PAHO’s executive committee has ended a week of deliberations here with progress on a number of strategies, action plans and policies on key health challenges facing member-countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
PAHO said the committee advanced plans of action to ensure the sustainability of the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome, and to strengthen vital and health statistics.
Members also addressed the human resources strategy for universal access to health, and the strategy and plan of action to strengthen tobacco control in the Americas.
PAHO said the approval of these and other initiatives means that they will be included in the agenda of for the September meeting.
“The expert and strategic guidance that you, our member states, have provided during this 160th session of the executive committee has been outstanding, and I believe that the rich exchange of insightful perspectives we witnessed over these past days is an unequivocal testimony to the high value placed on the organization by its member states,” said Etienne, noting that the eeting also discussed policies and reports on ethics and health policy issues.
“We stand together in our collective commitment to fight the multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion suffered by these groups.
“We recognized that an important characteristic of a resilient health system would be its capacity to articulate and effectively address the health needs of these populations, ensuring that no one is left behind,” she added.
The executive committee meets twice a year and the current members are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.

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