The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted health systems in the Region of the Americas and has exposed the need and urgency to build resilient health systems to be better prepared in the future against emerging threats, as well as to address individual and population health needs for future generations. A well-trained, qualified, and equitably distributed health workforce is fundamental for all countries of the Americas to progress and accelerate actions to achieve Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage in the Americas.
In alignment with these challenges, the United States (US) Government and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced the launch of the Americas Health Corps (AHC) as part of the “Action Plan on Health and Resilience in the Americas”, adopted by heads of states at the IX Summit of the Americas in June 2022. The AHC aims to address the complex array of challenges in human resources for health that have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, scaling up capacity to provide basic and specialized training to 500,000 public health, health science and medical professionals throughout the Region of the Americas, within the next 5 years.
Through concerted region-wide action, the AHC will boost efforts to ensure that countries in the Region are better prepared against future public health threats, can rapidly recuperate lost public health gains, and develop resilient health systems towards achieving Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage by 2030.
Five pillars for the AHC are proposed, each pillar being interdependent on one other:
Increasing Access and Availability of Qualified Health Workers: The Pan American Public Health Corps Training Initiative
A Virtual School in Public Health in the Americas: the PAHO Virtual Campus
Building Future Leadership in Health Governance and Public Health Administration
The Americas Consortium of Academic Centers in Health Sciences and Public Health
Private Sector Engagement and Innovation to Support Health Workforce Development
Event Opening. Dr. James Fitzgerald, Director, Department of Health Systems and Services
The Americas Health Corp: Building Back Better a Resilient Health Workforce in the Americas. Dr. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health, and Human Services
Challenges and Opportunities to Strengthen the Health Workforce in the Americas post-COVID - 19. Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director, PAHO
Panel discussion. Health workforce challenges to building resilient health systems
• Dr. Ximena Aguilera, Minister of Health, Chile
• Dr. Francisco José Coma Martín, Minister of Public Health and Social Welfare, Guatemala (TBC)
• Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, Jamaica (TBC)
Questions and comments from all Member States
Moderator: Dr. James Fitzgerald, Director, Department of Health Systems and Services
Closing remarks Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director, PAHO