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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with more than 100 years of experience in working to improve the health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.
The Pan American Sanitary Bureau (PASB), the oldest international health agency in the world, is the Secretariat of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The Bureau is committed to providing technical support and leadership to PAHO Member States as they pursue their goal of "Health for All" and the values therein. Toward that end, the following values, vision, and mission guide the Bureau's work.
Striving for fairness and justice by eliminating differences that are unnecessary and avoidable.
Achieving the highest quality in what we do.
Promoting shared interests and responsibilities and enabling collective efforts to achieve common goals.
Embracing the dignity and diversity of individuals, groups and countries.
Assuring transparent, ethical, and accountable performance.
The Pan American Sanitary Bureau will be the major catalyst for ensuring that all the peoples of the Americas enjoy optimal health and contribute to the well-being of their families and communities.
To lead strategic collaborative efforts among Member States and other partners to promote equity in health, to combat disease, and to improve the quality of, and lengthen, the lives of the peoples of the Americas.
PAHO is an inter-governmental organization which aims to improve health through ensuring equity of access to the conditions which facilitate good health and to strengthen regional national and local health systems throughout the Americas - from Canada in the north to Argentina in the south, and including the islands of the Caribbean.
The countries cooperate technically with and among each other with the support of the PAHO Secretariat. While the focus of coordination for cooperation in each country is the Ministry of Health, PAHO collaborates with all relevant governmental ministries and non-governmental organizations whose activities at the national or local level influence on health and development. PAHO collaborates closely with the international community, universities and religious institutions to foster sustainability of successful interventions. For this purpose scientific and technical experts in health are stationed in a network of PAHO country offices and centers in most countries in the Americas. The headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization is in Washington, D.C. and serves as the Regional Office in the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition it serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. This dual identity places PAHO in a unique position.
The Office of Caribbean Program Coordination (OCPC) is a PAHO sub-regional office in the Caribbean that was established in October 2006, with functions focused to develop and implement the Caribbean sub-regional technical cooperation program, responding mainly to the CARICOM Health Agenda – the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH III). Accordingly, the OCPC will strengthen its collaboration with and support the CARICOM Secretariat in all matters related to health.
The OCPC also works closely with PAHO Country Offices in the sub-region to complement the technical expertise where required in each country.
In order to better streamline our technical cooperation in the Caribbean, the OCPC also coordinates the technical cooperation provided by the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) and the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) within the framework of the CCH III, regional and global mandates.
Given the role of the OCPC, Dr. Ernest Pate, the PAHO Caribbean Program Coordinator, acts as the main interlocutor on behalf of the Organization with Sub-regional authorities and relevant entities on matters pertaining to the advancement of the Sub-regional technical cooperation, in particular the implementation of CCH III. The OCPC is based on the former OCPC that was established in Barbados in 1978.
In line with the Country Focus Policy and in an effort to improve the effectiveness of technical cooperation (TC) delivered by the Organization to Caribbean countries, the former OCPC was restructured in October 2006 in order to increase effectiveness of multi-agency and multi-country coordination with Caribbean technical cooperation.
The OCPC objectives is are:
The OCPC role is to:
The main functions of OCPC include:
OCPC focuses on the following areas of PAHO's technical cooperation:
|Dr. Mervyn U. Henry
1978 - 1984
|Dr. Halmond C. Dyer
1984 - 1993
|Dr. Karen A. Sealey
1993 - 1999
|Mrs. Veta Brown|
1999 - 2006
There is a long history of PAHO involvement in the Caribbean, since Zone Offices were created in 1951 before any of the territories had gained their independence. The Zone I office in Caracas, Venezuela, had the responsibility for technical cooperation with the Caribbean Territories.
In the 1960s, as the countries became independent and formally joined PAHO as sovereign states, the role of the Zone Offices changed. In this post-independence era the first English-speaking Caribbean country to join PAHO was Jamaica on August 23, 1962. Other countries gained membership with the organization in the following order:
|Date of Membership||Country|
|1963||September 20||Trinidad & Tobago|
|1964||October 8||The Bahamas|
|1980||September 22||St. Lucia|
|September 21||Saint Vincent & the Grenadines|
|1982||September 20||Antigua & Barbuda|
|1984||September 24||Saint Kitts & Nevis|
As the role of the Zone Offices changed Country Offices were created, each headed by a Representative of the Director. In 1975 the Zone Offices were designated Area Offices but Caracas still retained responsibility for much of the technical cooperation in the English-speaking Caribbean sub-region.
In 1978 the Office of Caribbean Program Coordination was established in Barbados in recognition of the commonality of health problems in the sub-region. This similarity of health systems originated in the common historical development and the long standing tradition of collaboration in health among these countries. Many of the resources were transferred from Caracas.
At this time, in addition to the Office of Caribbean Program Coordination, the English-speaking Caribbean is served by Country Offices headed by PAHO/WHO Representatives (PWRs) in the:
The Dutch Islands are served through the Office in Venezuela and other non English-speaking Caribbean countries are served through Offices in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. PAHO has Centers in which scientific and technical resources are concentrated to support the needs of all the countries. Two (2) of these PAHO Centers are located in the Caribbean:
These centers are also supported by the CARICOM member countries. Together with the Office of CPC, the centers provide a unique network of sub-regional programs for the Caribbean.
All countries have access to all PAHO resources located at the Regional level, in other Country Offices and in other PAHO Centers through their designated PAHO/WHO Representative. Other PAHO Centers are:
|BIREME||Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information, Brazil|
|CEPIS||Pan American Center for Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences, Peru|
|CLAP||Latin American Center for Perinatology and Human Development, Uruguay|
|INCAP||Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, Guatemala|
|INPPAZ||Pan American Institute for Food Protection and Zoonoses, Argentina|
|PANAFTOSA||Pan American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Center, Brazil|
|PAHEF||Pan American Health and Education Foundation, Washington, D.C|
PAHO can also mobilize resources from selected national Centers of Excellence with which it has Collaborative Agreements. These are known as WHO or PAHO Collaborating Centers. There are three such centers in the Caribbean;
See also PAHO-WHO: www.paho.org
The Office of Caribbean Program Coordination (OCPC) works closely with the other PAHO sub-regional Centers and the country offices in the sub-region to support health activities in priority areas as identified by national governments of the Caribbean. This is done through coordination of the planning of the sub-regional programs and the intimate involvement of PAHO/WHO representatives (PWRs) of individual countries in the process. The method aims to promote responsiveness to the changing needs of the countries, reduction of duplication of activities and maximization of technical resources for the Caribbean.
PAHO also collaborates closely with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and serves as one partner of the Secretariat of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health initiative. PAHO works closely with the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated health and related institutions and organizations:
PAHO also collaborates with other regional political organizations in the area of health:
PAHO develops and executes projects with several UN agencies. More recently, the agencies have worked to coordinate and integrate action in selected common areas of priority. The agencies include:
Other agencies and institutions with which PAHO collaborates are:
The Office of CPC in addition cooperates with non-governmental organizations and the private for-profit sector at the country level for the effective development and delivery of programs at that level.
The Caribbean Region served by the OCPC technical cooperation includes countries and territories with different political structures and statuses:
Countries served include the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM):
a) CARICOM Member states
b) CARICOM Associate Members
Some Eastern Caribbean countries are member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), that is a nine member grouping comprising: Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are associate members of the OECS.