Washington, D.C., 12 April 2012 (PAHO/WHO) – The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) signed a $10.5 million agreement with the Government of Spain to strengthen health systems in the Americas and to support priority programs during 2012.
The agreement was signed April 12 by PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago and Ambassador Jorge Hevia Sierra, Spain’s Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States and inter-American cooperation agencies.
The funds will support comprehensive strengthening of health systems as well as specific programs focused on HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected diseases in the region. They will also support a regional E-health strategy approved by PAHO’s 2011 Directing Council as well as specific components of PAHO’s 2010-2011 Annual Operating Plan, including maternal-infant health, child health, and sexual and reproductive health. The funds will also support scientific research, knowledge management, and capacity building for health systems using a life-course approach.
Ambassador Hevia Sierra said his country was pleased to support health in the Americas through the new agreement. “Our approach has been not to impose anything but instead to dialog and listen to proposals by the experts and evaluate projects with you so we can decide together where we can best help.” He added that he hoped the collaboration would continue in the future.
Dr. Roses noted Spain’s history of collaborating with PAHO/WHO and the importance that its contributions have had for health programs. “This cooperation has helped us assign resources for the strategic lines of the Health Agenda for the Americas. In that sense, it is very modern cooperation because it is more strategic and is aligned with the region’s health priorities.”
The financing agreement signed today is aligned with PAHO’s Strategic Plan 2008-2012, which focuses on promoting health throughout the life course, addressing the social determinants of health, expanding social protection, preventing and reducing disability and premature mortality due to non-communicable diseases, improving health services management, strengthening the evidence base for health systems, improving access to medical products and health technologies, training health personnel, and fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases.
Spain has collaborated with PAHO/WHO in the Americas for more than 30 years. This collaboration was strengthened in 2007 with the creation of the Spanish Fund to support PAHO’s Strategic Plan. Spain is a strategic public health ally for Latin America and the Caribbean, which receive nearly 40 percent of its international cooperation funds.
PAHO was established in 1902 and is the oldest public health organization in the world. It works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. PAHO also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).
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