Dr. Mirta Roses meets with executives of the Mexico and the United States public health professional associations to strengthen cooperation on the border

El Paso, TX, September 13th, 2012 (OPS/OMS)With the intention of making a retrospective and prospective analysis, as well as to explore possibilities to improve public health in the border, strengthen cross-border Binational cooperation and exchange of information, knowledge, lessons learned and successful experiences on the priorities of public health, was held the binational meeting to strengthen public health in the border Mexico - United States in the framework of the 110 anniversary of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the 70 years of his Office for the Mexico-United States border.

In that meeting there were  conferences of Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of  PAHO who presented on priorities for strengthening public health on the border; and Dr. Georges Benjamin, Director of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and Dr. Cuitláhuac Ruiz Matus, President of the Sociedad Mexicana de Salud Pública (SMSP), who made a unanimous proposal to build and strengthen the capacity of organizations of the civil society in the border through the organizations that represent respectively and in collaboration with the PAHO.

Following the presentations the participants to this event had the opportunity to discuss about what was presented in seven working groups where more than 100 participants from different areas of the border Mexico-United States public health, analyzed and reflected on the needs of a mechanism for the exchange of knowledge and experience and also responded to various questions that they guided the process of identifying the most appropriate mechanism in the context and present at the border. The moderators of the Group were Piedad Huerta, Advisor of the Office of the Directing Bodies (PAHO/WHO) and Dr. Guillermo Mendoza, Country Program Analyst of the Office of the Director (PAHO/WHO).

The moderators asked participants they comment the expectations about the opportunity to establish an organization, the constant was the need for a space for discussion, which would facilitate the exchange of experiences and commitments of binational cooperation in improving public health. Later, an analysis time was given and it ended with the participation of the work tables as a plenary, where the members of these were announced its recommendations and proposals.

The participants of the work tables agreed that it is necessary to create a cross-border bi-national communication Association in the field of public health; for the participation of civil society as well as to make an inventory of existing instances, Government, health authorities and academic to participate actively, enabling them to combine the efforts already carried out independently by various agencies, with the aim that these efforts represent major public health impact on both sides of the border between Mexico - United States.

 This activity allowed exploring ways to strengthen the exchange of information and knowledge of health through binational collaborative networks. Attendees were very committed and excited about the creation of a mechanism that the professionals of public health in the region can have.

Dr. Ruiz Matus Meanwhile proposed, "to build a common agenda with the collaboration of PAHO, APHA and SMSP with key issues such as violence, chronic diseases, and the sexual and reproductive health, among other topics." "We will seek efforts to contribute to the objectives of the Millennium: prominently HIV, reproductive health, maternal health and child health." Adding that it is necessary to establish a dialog border to strengthen subsidiaries of the SMSP in the border region and promoting the creation of a public health association defining mechanisms for the Exchange and cooperation.

Meanwhile Dr. Benajmin, Executive Director of the American public health association, the oldest in the world and that it has more than 50 thousand members join these proposals and stressed the importance of having clear the purpose and approach of this new Association and keep the focus on such purpose, also reiterate its commitment to adhere to strengthen health on the border

They talk of common agreement about the possibility to establish a meeting between SMSP and APHA per year (within the framework of the annual meetings exchanging headquarters), and consolidate all these proposal in a binational agreement of the asociacioens with the OPS. As also is common manifesto agreement the need of an organism border of public health integrated by non profits organizations, academic and health services staff.

Photo Gallery of the event

American Public Health Association (APHA)
Sociedad Mexicana de Salud Pública, A.C.

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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