As one of the technical departments under the management of the Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Family, Gender and Life Course (FGL) is responsible for providing country-focused technical cooperation addressing several broad thematic areas that are included in its three units and one center:
In addition to those, FGL leads the Nutrition, Health and Development Cross Organizational Team (COT), and Strategic Alliance for Health Nutrition and Development and the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
FGL promotes, coordinates and implements technical cooperation at the regional, subregional and country levels, emphasizing the central role of the family and community to foster a culture of health promotion and protection in which health is a social value and a human right. FGL focuses on the development and implementation of programs for women’s health; maternal and neonatal health; the integrated health and development of children and adolescents; the health of aging populations; sexual and reproductive health; gender and cultural diversity; food and nutrition; and comprehensive family immunization. In June 2012, the visual health, oral health, and disability prevention and rehabilitation programs were incorporated into the FGL Department.
In collaboration with national and international partners, FGL supports national programs in the identification, development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions over the span of the life course. The area provides technical cooperation and guidance in the design and development of research activities, policy and legislation, inter-sectoral programs, and projects for family health. All technical cooperation is carried out within the context of primary health care and according to the countries’ epidemiological situation, as well as the social determinants of health, in which gender, human rights, and multiculturalism all play a part in working toward the achievement of universal health coverage.
Given the information stated above, FGL priorities are summarized in this presentation.
Healthy Life Course (HL)
- Supports the efforts of the countries to develop and implement policies, plans, programs and health interventions integrated within the life course approach for the comprehensive health care of individuals and their families by establishing partnerships with the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious organizations and community networks. HL promotes public policies that favor healthy behaviors and habits throughout the span of the life course, as well as the prevention of disability, including blindness and avoidable visual impairment.
- In accordance with the Strategy and Plan of Action for Integrated Child Health adopted at the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference in 2012, and with a strong emphasis on community and family involvement, HL promotes the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, strategies and inter-sectoral programs within the countries, including the following:
- Early childhood development
- The promotion of breastfeeding
- Complementary feeding practices
- Micronutrient supplementation
- The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) Strategy
- The improvement of oral health
- The detection and treatment of refractive defects.
- Provides technical cooperation to promote the healthy development of adolescents and youth, with a strong emphasis on community and family involvement.
- Promotes healthy lifestyles and active aging through public policies that promote risk reduction, optimal nutrition, mental health awareness, diet, physical activity and the provision of comprehensive health services from a life course approach.
Women, Reproductive, Perinatal and Neonatal Health (CLAP)
- Provides technical cooperation to the countries to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and men.
- Supports the efforts of the countries in advancing the provision of integrated and holistic care to reduce maternal, perinatal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
- In response to the requirements of the resolutions adopted by the Governing Bodies, CLAP strengthens national surveillance programs for maternal and perinatal health by strengthening improving capabilities and ensuring the availability of strategic information through the utilization of the Perinatal Information System.
- Promotes clinical, epidemiological, and health services for sexual, reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and perinatal health, and implements cost-effective and evidence-based interventions.
Comprehensive Family Immunization (IM)
- Promotes and coordinates technical cooperation and partnerships with the private and public sectors and the international community in order to support the efforts of the countries to achieve sustainable and equitable reduction of morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases. This is done through control and elimination strategies and the strengthening of national immunization programs.
- Supports the development of strategies to engage families and communities in promoting adequate immunization throughout the life course, depending on the age and sex of their members.
- Assists countries to strengthen their vaccination programs and the epidemiological surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases in order to improve the capacity of national diagnostic laboratories and strengthen regional networks of laboratories.
- Promotes the political prioritization and sustainability of vaccination programs through the strengthening of legislation and creation of fiscal space for the introduction of new vaccines.
- Generates key epidemiological data on disease burden and the cost-effectiveness of interventions in order to promote decision-making in relation to current vaccination programs and the introduction of new vaccines.
- Ensures the timely supply of quality vaccines through the PAHO Revolving Fund for Vaccine Procurement.
Management and coordination
The management and coordination is undertaken by the Department Director and supported by the Program and Partnership Specialist, Administrator, Knowledge Management and Communication Specialist, and Senior Administrative Assistant. In addition to the coordination and management of the four programs mentioned above, cross-cutting issues such as strategic information, resource mobilization, and partnerships are implemented and monitored. Monthly coordination meetings (buttressed by Ad Hoc meetings when the need arises) are held with all members in which program monitoring, budget implementation, meetings and workshops, and travel are coordinated.