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PAHO DirectorPAHO-AFRO-WHO Inter-Regional Cooperation Initiative. WHO/AMRO (PAHO), WHO/AFRO and WHO/HQ work to strengthening health sciences education in the African Region, an inter-regional initiative of technical cooperation that assess the feasibility of establishing a textbook and instructional materials program based on the experience of the PALTEX program in the Americas Region.

Dr. Mirta Roses
Pan American Health Organization

Opening Remarks
Washington DC, 28 June 2010

Strengthening Health Sciences Education in the WHO African Region

PAHO Director

It is our privilege and a honor to welcome all of you, officials from our sister office in the Region of Africa and WHO Headquarters, from the Area of Human resources for Health, with the important aim of meeting on improving education of health personnel.

At PAHO, we have had on previous occasions, inter-regional cooperation initiatives and we have worked with WHO on specific collaboration processes.

However, this is the first time we met in a collaborative process on the issue of human resources for health and this is a cause for celebration.

As you know, in 2005 the Toronto meeting identified five critical challenges in human resources for health and in 2007 the Pan American Sanitary Conference adopted the resolution of the Regional Goals for Human Resources for Health. In both documents, the improvement of basic and permanent education is central.

In this context, support to education such as textbooks and a variety of educational resources, play an important role in theoretical and practical learning and for the formation of values and positive transformation of health care services.

This was well understood by PAHO since more than four decades, when PAHO created the PALTEX Program and kept it in collaboration with the Pan American Health and Education.

The Expanded Textbook and Instructional Materials Program (PALTEX) was created in 1966 with the purpose of improving the quality of health sciences' education and in Latin America. For more than 40 years, the program has acquired, produced, and sold at affordable prices nearly ten million books and educational tools for students and health professionals (physicians, nurses, dentists, nutritionists, etc.) at 510 institutions in 19 Latin American countries.

In December 2009 we have presented an important proposal for renewal of PALTEX which includes initiatives such as improving administrative processes, systematizing the technical function, expanding the program to the Caribbean and the foray into digital resources of various types.  This is the process we are going through at this time. The proposal also includes the possibility of collaboration with the Africa Regional Office of WHO to think about similar experiences in the poorest countries.

We know that there has been a common interest between PAHO/AMROWHO, WHO/AFRO and WHO/HQ to establish a formal dialogue aimed at exploring the feasibility of establishing a similar initiative in the African Region. This is in recognition of the extreme need for these teaching and learning materials in most of the African health sciences education and training institutions. 

This technical cooperation initiative is in line with WHO, PAHO and AFRO priorities in order to ensure an available and effective health workforce to improve health in the world. It is also aimed at building capabilities, in countries with critical health personnel shortages, to improve competencies and the production of health personnel.

The three offices  have agreed to work collaboratively on the following points: to assess the feasibility of establishing a textbook and instructional materials program in the African Region based on the experience of the PALTEX program in the American Region, and if feasible, to sustain the cooperation in order to design and implement a program. This meeting continues the initiated dialogues on the matter and serves for the first concretion of the initiative.

You will attend a wide presentation of the PALTEX experience and have all the time needed to clarify points; we are sure that discussions will develop rich and productive and that conclusions will be reported in order to move the proposal forward.  

Our human resources for health team in conjunction with PAHEF will do the best to support and enlighten this meeting and the whole process.

I want to thank and welcome PAHEF President and officers for their presence and constant support to PALTEX, and again, we are pleased to have our visitors from WHO and AFRO here, we give you a warm welcome to PAHO, we hope that your feel comfortable in our house and with our team, and that you have enough time to enjoy Washington.

Many Thanks

More information:

For more information, contact Diaz, Mrs. Katia (WDC), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Office of the Director.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 11:18

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