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PAHO contributes key public health issues during the LXVI Annual Meeting of the Mexican Society of Public Health


Pachuca Hidalgo, Mexico, November 26, 2012 (PAHO/WHO) - During the LXVI Annual Meeting of the Mexican Society of Public Health (SMSP for its Spanish acronym), held in Pachuca from November 21st-24th, the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) representatives participated in several sessions with relevant issues, such as, immunizations, chronic diseases, border health, access to information for decision-making and distance training, among others.  

Dr. Cuitláhuac Ruiz Matus, President of the SMSP, emphasized that the purpose of the meeting is the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences to improve public policy for the benefit of public health in Mexico. "This meeting has been held for nearly 70 years, and is the stage for the discussion of ideas, always based on scientific evidence, ideas that are the raw material for building relevant and important public policy." Besides being a place of meeting and exchange of experiences that attracts over a thousand health professionals and public health workers from all states of the Mexican Republic.

The MSc. Salomón Chertorivski Woldenberg, Secretary of Health of Mexico emphasized in his keynote address, that this "is the first generation in the history of humanity in which the children will live less than their parents, diminishing life expectancy, therefore health services should be more preventive and achieve greater equity."                                                                                                 

Dr. Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus receives recognition for his work as a health professional

As part of a moving ceremony recognizing many past presidents, Dr. Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus, Immunizations Regional Advisor for PAHO, was distinguished for his service in the SMSP and as past president of that society. This recognition includes the publication of an interview in the book "Voces de la Salud Pública” (Voices of Public Health),, relating the personal history and challenges that past presidents had as public health professionals. Dr. Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus received the recognition from his daughter, attorney Verónica Ruiz Toledo.

In his presentation Dr. Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus spoke about the eradication and elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases in a globalized world, particularly given examples of feasibility: "it is necessary to continuously strengthen the surveillance capacity of countries to timely detect an outbreak of any vaccine-preventable disease which had already been eliminated from their territories." In this session, co-presented with Dr. Pablo Kuri Morales, Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion of Mexico.

Overweight and obesity, the major public health challenge of the XXI Century

In another session, Dr. Maria Teresa Cerqueira, Chief of the Office of the PAHO/WHO U.S.-Mexico Border Office, presented the health promotion strategies as tools to address the epidemic of overweight and obesity, the great public health challenge for the XXI Century.

"The importance of implementing the healthy public policies, to reduce the excessive consumption of foods with high concentration calories, fat, and salt. As well as the recovery of public spaces and supportive environments that encourage a more active lifestyles” said Dr. Cerqueira. She added that intersectoral collaboration and citizen empowerment and participation is key to ensure accountability of implementation of  public policy.

Co-presenter on the same panel, Dr. Agustín Lara Esqueda, Secretary of Health of Colima said "21% of daily calories come from liquids (soda and other sugary drinks) so if we only drink water, we will reduce the same percentage of overweight and obesity.”
Preventive actions in the United States-Mexico Border

In the panel titled Health Without Borders, presented on strategies for health promotion at the border, whose aim was to share effective experiences in promoting health and preventing illness. Several experiences with collaboration among federal, state, local institutions and community organizations were presented: Ecoclubs to strengthen youth leadership in community health development, safe hospitals, health promting universities, the international health leaders program and the Centers of Excellence. In this same panel the initiative of violence and injury prevention with a focus on health and human security, was presented. Dr. Maria Teresa Cerqueira and Dr. Gustavo Iturralde, Consultant in Family and Community Health, PAHO/WHO U.S.-Mexico Border Office, gave these presentations.
To address the pandemic of chronic diseases in the border, the initiative of the Centers of Excellence for chronic diseases prevention and health promotion was presented, which grew out of the diabetes project implemented in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control in the United States (CDC), and the Secretary of Health of Mexico at the federal level. The initiative strengthens the collaboration between universities, health services and the community. These initiatives and experiences exemplify the recommendation of Secretary Chertorivski for more preventive actions.

In this panel MSc. Lorely Ambriz, Specialist on Alliances Development and Knowledge Management, PAHO/WHO U.S.-Mexico Border Office, presented the Virtual Health Library (VHL), the Evidence Portal, the Cochrane Library, and the thematic Border VHL as a tools to spread the experiences and knowledge that builds the capacity of the community of public health professionals to implement preventive measures and the promotion of health.

Moreover, the PAHO/WHO Border Office representatives, further continue the discussion on the importance of strengthening collaboration with the public health workforce along the border with Dr. Cuitláhuac Ruiz Matus, President of SMSP and President Elect Dr. Silvia Roldán; the discussion included strengthening the collaboration with counterparts of the United States from the American Public Health Association (APHA).

Virtual Campus of Public Health, valuable tool for human resources training

The Virtual Campus of Public Health was presented as a tool for technical cooperation of PAHO/WHO to assist in the training and continuing education of public health professionals. This presentation was made by the MSP Claudia Verónica Iglesias Padrón, National Consultant, Virtual Campus of Public Health at PAHO/WHO in Mexico. In this panel, the Virtual Campus was identified as a valuable tool in continuing education on prevention, said Dr. Marcela González de Cossio, Director of Health Education in the General Directorate of Quality and Health Education. Moreover, information on the Virtual Campus was provided in the exhibition area of the meeting.


For more information please contact:
Lorely Ambriz, M.S.I.S
, Knowledge Management & Communication
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / A Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) United States-Mexico Border Office
5400 Suncrest Dr. Ste. C-4  El Paso, TX 79912
Office (915) 845-5950 Ext. 42523 / Cel (915) 449-3040  / Fax  (915) 845-4361
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