Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of the Pan American Health Organization, maintained a full schedule of meetings with senior officials of the Cuban government during her visit to Cuba from 26 to 30 March. She attended the WHO Global Policy Group meeting, together with Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other regional directors. Dr. Roses Periago also joined the Congress on Geriatrics and Gerontology and the meeting of the Regional Advisory Committee on Health Statistics, among other activities.
Meetings with Cuban government officials.
Raúl Castro, President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of Cuba, met with Drs. Chan and Roses Periago on 30 March to discuss issues related to the ties of collaboration between the international organization and the country.
José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, and Health Minister Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda also attended the meeting.
First Vice-President Machado Ventura met with the Director General of WHO and the Director of PAHO on 29 March to discuss relations between the international agency and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba (MINSAP) and ways to strengthen their close bonds of collaboration. Dr. José Luis Di Fabio, PAHO/WHO representative in Cuba, Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales, and Vice-Minister Marcia Cobas were also present at this meeting.
During their week-long stay in Havana, Cuba, Drs. Chan and Roses Periago also met with the Minister of Public Health of Cuba and Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
On 30 March, Dr. Chan and Public Health Minister Roberto Morales signed the Strategic Note of Cooperation on Health in Cuba, which sets out the priorities and modalities of cooperation between WHO and the government of Cuba. Dr. Roses Periago and Dr. José Luis Di Fabio, PAHO/WHO representative, served as distinguished witnesses.
WHO Global Policy Group
The WHO Global Policy Group met for the first time in Havana on 27 - 28 March. The participants were: Dr. Chan, Dr. Roses Periago, Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, Deputy Director-General of WHO, Dr. Andrew Kennedy Cassels, Adviser to the Director General of WHO, Dr. Luis Sambo, Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Wing Din Alwan, Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr. Zsuzsana Jakab, Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr. Shin Young-soo, Regional Director for the Western Pacific, and Dr. Koorchamveettil Surendranathan.
The officials of the WHO Global Policy Group (GPG) were welcomed by officials of the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba and the PAHO/WHO representative in that country. The group began work on its agenda of activities on Monday, 26 March, accompanied by the PAHO/WHO representative office in Cuba and MINSAP officials.
In his capacity as the PAHO/WHO representative in Cuba, Dr. Di Fabio hosted a reception on the evening of 28 March in honor of the WHO delegation. Among the guests were the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Morales, ambassadors, and representatives of the agencies of the United Nations system in Cuba, staff members of the Ministries of Health, Science, Technology and Environment, directors of institutions of the Scientific Pole in the country, institute directors, and the staff the PAHO/WHO Representative Office in Cuba, among others.
Dr. Roses Periago expressed her thanks for the invitation and introduced the members of the GPG. Dr. Chan said she was proud to be in Cuba and of the reception she had been given. She recognized the country's progress and the efforts it has made to achieve health outcomes. The Minister of Health expressed his gratitude that Cuba was selected to host this meeting.
On 26 March, Dr. Roses Periago inaugurated the sessions of the Regional Advisory Committee on Health Statistics (CRAES), a PAHO advisory organ created to carry out periodic studies on the main challenges associated with the analytical use of data, information, and health statistics in the Americas. The discussion topics included mortality data, the main high quality indicators, and the need to improve descriptive and analytical aspects, among other points.
This is the first time the CRAES has been held outside PAHO Headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States. Cuba was selected in recognition of its work in statistical information management, said Dr. Roses Periago to the Cuban press.
National Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology
Drs. Chan and Roses Periago participated in the closing session of the National Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology in Cuba, on 30 March.
Also that day, Dr. Roses Periago and Dr. Miguel Ángel Fernández Shepherd, Director of the Inter-American Center for Social Security Studies (CIESS), signed a Protocol of Intentions to form the University Consortium on Public Health and Aging. This is the result of a partnership between PAHO and CIESS to encourage cooperation and to cope with the new challenges associated with aging and health in the region.
"Whenever I come to Cuba I feel inspired by the work Cuban health personnel and scientists are doing, and I would like to thank the government of the island for placing health at the center of its actions," [Tnt: My translation. I found her speech but not this closing statement in English] said Dr. Chan at the closing of the Congress.
During the meeting, three Cuban centenarians presented a bouquet of flowers to Drs. Chan and Roses Periago and renowned Cuban painter Flora Fong [tnt: see typo in source] presented each of them with a serigraph to thank them for their visit. Chan and Roses Periago and renowned Cuban painter Flora Fong [tnt: see typo in source] presented each of them with a serigraph to thank them for their visit.