PAHO helps to prepare region for future pandemics

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Dr Carissa Etienne
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The Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) will be ensuring that member States, such as Antigua and Barbuda, have strengthened healthcare systems to withstand any future health crises such as Covid-19.

Major improvements in providing healthcare across the region were the result of quickly adapting to a lack of resources as larger countries hoarded resources, causing global supply-chain issues.

According to PAHO Director, Dr Carissa Etienne, the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical sector specifically saw transformational leaps in the level of research and design and innovation during Covid-19.

She highlighted the need for regional governments to invest in pandemic research, mitigation and response before events occurs.

“The first two years of the response have clearly shown that investments in pandemic preparedness in non-pandemic times are critical if we are to be better prepared in the event of an international public health emergency, and that an integrated response in such times across sectors is both highly complex and requires adjustment of existing strategies, as well as the adoption of new, validated, evidence-based tools,” Dr Etienne outlined.

She further demonstrated how managing Covid-19 in the Caribbean led to major expansions and the modernisation of the region’s healthcare.

“We have witnessed important innovations in health during this pandemic. From the rapid expansion of ICU capacity and care, the deployment of telemedicine to protect the delivery of essential health services, to the new and rapid methods to support payment mechanisms and financing health,” Dr Etienne added.

The PAHO Director said that considering the region’s vulnerability to supply chain disruptions, local production of equipment and medicines must be regarded as a priority.

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