The Director of the Pan-American Health Organization (Mirta Roses) stated in her blog that this year’s PAHO assembly would focus particularly on matters related to innovation and research. ”Proposals for action to strengthen vital and health statistics, as well as the link between public health, innovation, and intellectual property, are part of our integral efforts to promote evidence-based policies.”
The debate around ensuring access to safe medicines and protecting strong incentives for continued medical innovation is of the utmost importance to patients around the world. It is unfortunate that, more than a month after the annual meeting, PAHO seems to be maintaining the same secrecy as did the World Health Organization in the development of their Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. As PAHO further explores these issues, it is essential that patients be included in the process.
Director of PAHO’s Blog
The Home for Health in the Americas strengthening actions in public health and improving the social protection in health for our populations.
This week we are celebrating at our Headquarters, which I also call the Home for Health in the Americas, the 48th Directing Council of our Organization, in which all the Member States participate. At the opening session, we had the good fortune to have with us Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, His Excellency José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, and representatives from the other institutions of the Inter-American system, the observer states, and agencies and entities that cooperate with our efforts.
The Council’s intense agenda, which will occupy the entire week, will focus particularly on matters related to innovation and research. Proposals for action to strengthen vital and health statistics, as well as the link between public health, innovation, and intellectual property, are part of our integral efforts to promote evidence-based policies.
We are taking this action because our commitment, each of us in his own area but conscious that all of us are connected to one another in a network to improve public health, is to get results. This demands self-criticism to examine the progress made toward meeting noble and ambitious targets, such as those in the Development Goals of the Millennium Declaration, and timely action to adopt the measures necessary for meeting them, such as the Regional Strategy and Plan of Action for Neonatal Health within the Continuum of Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Care. It also demands solidarity among the Member States, a distinctive feature of public health in our Region, exemplified once again in the recent launch of the Action NOW for the Lives of Mothers, Newborns, and Children Initiative, a notable example of horizontal cooperation and solidarity among developing countries that is supported by the Prime Minister of Norway and a network of political leaders, headed in our Region by President Bachelet and President Lula. I congratulate Dr. Chan on the success of her activities in this area in New York last week, and I thank all the many government authorities and First Ladies of the Region, who have made the improvement of maternal, neonatal, and child care a high political priority.
Solidarity also implies a resolute struggle against inequity and poverty and their terrible consequences for public health. For this reason, activities to promote social protection and equitable access to quality health services are moving forward. Examples of these are proposals to make progress in the elimination of neglected diseases and in staunch promotion of the primary health care strategy, as well as support for the priority countries, with special emphasis on collaborative health efforts in Haiti.
It is clear that measures to reduce the risk and burden of disease, among them the Regional Strategy and Plan of Action for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control and efforts for the prevention and management of diabetes and obesity, should be viewed in the context of health determinants and actions to address them. Therefore, the agenda also includes climate change and its impact on public health, a phenomenon that has been the focus of much of our effort this year (to which I have referred in other blogs) and that, as the latest evidence reported some days ago reveals, is intensifying at a rate that exceeds even the grimmest scientific forecasts. The consequences are, unfortunately, very real. Some Ministers of Health, understandably, could not participate in the meeting because they are grappling with the consequences of the severe hurricane season in the Caribbean.
We have major challenges ahead of us, then, as well as opportunities that the participants in this meeting of the Directing Council will address with the sense of responsibility and commitment characteristic of people devoted to the mission of public health. I am certain that this week of working together in solidarity will lead to new successes in public health in the Region.
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