On the morning of January 31, 2013 dignitaries from Government, Embassies and Consulates, Universities and United Nations agencies gathered at the local office of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to virtually attend the inauguration of Dr. Carissa Etienne as the 10th Director of PAHO and Regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organization.
Dr. Jean Dixon, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health in her opening remarks stated that, “Dr. Etienne was recommended to assist Jamaica with our thrust to strengthen primary health care.
We truly have a team member on board and someone who fully understands what it will take to achieve the goals we have set ourselves”. Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson attended the event in person at the Washington D.C. PAHO headquarters. Dr. Etienne, a native of the Commonwealth of Dominica, was elected by PAHO member states on September 19, 2012. She will begin her 5 year term on February 1, 2013. Previously, Dr. Etienne served as Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services at WHO in Geneva, Switzerland and as Assistant Director of PAHO. During her tenures at WHO and PAHO, Dr. Etienne led the efforts to renew primary health care and to strengthen health systems based on primary health care, promoting integration and improved functioning of health systems. She has also spearheaded policy directions for reducing health inequalities and advancing health for all through universal coverage, people-centered care, the integration of health into broader public policies, and inclusive and participatory health leadership. Ms. Margareta Sköld, PAHO/WHO Representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman islands called on all partners “to continue to accompany and support PAHO/WHO, which remains uniquely positioned to provide global public health leadership. The continued and creative forging of new alliances for public health, with international, national, nongovernmental, private and community-based actors is critical to better address global, regional and country health needs.” PAHO was founded in 1902 and is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It celebrated its 110th anniversary last December, 2012.