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"Maintain investment in health in times of crisis"

It was during her lecture at the World Fair on Municipalities and Health which runs until Friday in Costa Salguero, Buenos Aires. She warned that cutting social spending would make recovery more difficult.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 18, 2009 (PAHO) - The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Mirta Roses, asked countries "not to cut social spending on health in times of crisis," during the conference 'Municipalities, Health and Integrated Management: An Opportunity for Strengthening the Exercise of Civil Rights,' part of the World Fair on Municipalities and Health, which runs until Friday in Costa Salguero, Buenos Aires.

Dr. Mirta RosesThe event was opened by the President of Argentina, Mrs. Cristina Fernández Kirchner; Dr. Mirta Roses Periago and the Minister of Health, Dr. Juan Manzur, with an audience of 3,000 from around the world.

During the meeting—organized by Argentina's Ministry of Health with support from PAHO and other U.N. agencies—Dr. Roses said that "achieving the inalienable right to health requires societies to be more inclusive, equitable and healthy. This requires a big commitment and will be a most difficult task in times of crisis."

In this sense she considered necessary "to avoid cuts in social spending" because such cuts will "only aggravate the crisis, making recovery more difficult, slow and painful." Dr. Roses also suggested "preserving the investment in human development and investments in social networks targeting those most vulnerable", and "strengthening local development to improve the quality of life for all."

For Dr. Roses, actions can be taken by local communities to "reconcile equity with price stability." She further noted that to achieve the goal of Health for All "we must act from the very top of public policy."

On the other hand, the Director of PAHO called on countries to strengthen social protection systems and health-based primary care, promote integrated local development, and work for the most vulnerable groups.

Among those who make up these groups, whose basic rights may be affected, are the indigenous peoples, persons with mental disorders, HIV / AIDS, the disabled, children, women, seniors and workers.

"The right to health is a priority," said Roses, who says it is important to include young people and women, and invest in them and in a healthy environment."

For Dr. Mirta Roses, governments have "enormous potential for improving their countries' quality of life." She also recalled that "there are international treaties and human rights organizations that can be used to protect the health of citizens.

For more information please contact the PAHO/WHO Office in Argentina, Sebastian Oliel, Communications Officer, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Tel + 011-54-11 4893-7600, ext.16

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