|28th Pan American Sanitary Conference Begins Today|
Ministers of Health of all the countries of the Americas will gather at the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) from 17-21 September for the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference to analyze the health policies in the Region.
During the Pan American Sanitary Conference, PAHO Member States will elect the next Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, the secretariat of PAHO. The director-elect will begin his or her five-year term on 1 February 2013, taking over from Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, of Argentina, who has been serving as Director of PAHO since 1 February 2003.
The 2012 edition of Health in the Americas, a publication that provides an update on the health situation in the 48 countries and territories of the Region, will also be presented. The report describes the progress made by the countries of the Americas and the challenges they face as they work to improve health in the Region, presenting an integrated approach to the most pressing health issues. The main theme of the publication is inequality in resources and in the distribution of health and well-being among and within countries.
Member States will also decide on the admission of Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten as Associate Members of PAHO/WHO.
The Pan American Sanitary Conference is the supreme governing authority of the Organization and meets every five years to determine its policies and priorities. The Conference also serves as a forum for the interexchange of information and ideas relating to the prevention of disease; the preservation, promotion and restoration of mental and physical health; and the promotion of health.
The meeting will begin on Monday 17 September at 9:00 a.m. and will take place at PAHO Headquarters, 525 23rd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. For five days, the health leaders and representatives will analyze agenda items such as the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, integrated child health, and health-related knowledge management and communication. They will also discuss the coordination of health-related international humanitarian assistance in case of disasters, progress in the area of gender equality, and HIV/AIDS prevention and control, among other topics.
The Director of PAHO, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, will present the organization’s quinquennial report, which highlights the public health achievements of the past decade and pending challenges in the Americas.
Various activities will be held in parallel with the Pan American Sanitary Conference, including a meeting of the Regional Coalition on Water and Sanitation for the Elimination of Cholera from the Island of Hispaniola, on Tuesday 18 September. A book that captures the ten years of experience with the Vaccination Week in the Americas initiative will also be launched, among other activities.
Finally, the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and the PAHO Award for Administration will be conferred.
PAHO, which celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, is the world’s oldest public health organization. It works with all the countries of the Hemisphere to improve the health and quality of life of the peoples of the Americas and serves as the WHO Regional Office for the Americas.