PAHO convenes ministers of Health of the Americas to discuss Health priorities for the Region 

PAHO convenes ministers of Health of the Americas to discuss Health priorities for the Region 

Representatives will seek to reach agreements to prevent and control non-communicable diseases in children, adolescents, and young people, and to reduce the suicide rate, which increased by 17% between 2000 and 2019, among other issues.

Washington, DC, September 20, 2023 (PAHO)- Ministers of Health and other high-level authorities from the countries and territories of the Americas will meet from September 25-29 in Washington D.C, to participate in the 60th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The opening ceremony will take place on Monday, September 25 at 9:00 am (Washington D.C time), with the participation of the Minister of Health and Welfare of Jamaica and outgoing President of the Directing Council, Dr. Christopher Tufton, and PAHO Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa.

The Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, and Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, among others, will also speak via video.

Dr. Barbosa, who took office in February of this year, will present the Director’s annual report on Monday, which analyzes PAHO’s performance between July 2022 and June 2023. The report focuses on health systems recovery post-COVID-19, as well as on the progress, achievements, and challenges of the Organization’s technical cooperation.

Discussions will focus on a variety of strategies, resolutions, and policies aimed at strengthening the region’s health workforce; preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases in children, adolescents, and youth, and improving mental health and suicide prevention in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other topics.

A series of briefing sessions will also be conducted during the week. On Monday 25, from 12:30 – 2pm (EDT), PAHO experts will brief the Directing Council on applying lessons on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.

On Tuesday, at the same time, PAHO will relaunch its Elimination Initiative to reinforce the political commitment of countries in the Region to end more than 30 communicable diseases and other health conditions by 2030.

On Wednesday and Thursday at noon, two briefing sessions will be held on the need to accelerate action against non-communicable diseases through primary health care, and on the importance of advancing the health equity agenda.

During the meeting, delegates will also receive final reports on topics such as the elimination of neglected infectious diseases, tobacco control, chronic kidney disease in agricultural communities in Central America, and vital statistics, among others.

The PAHO Award for Health Services Management and Leadership 2023 will also be presented during the week.  

The closing of the 60th Directing Council is set to take place on the morning of Friday, September 29.

Press accreditation

The Directing Council will take place at PAHO headquarters, located at 525 23rd St NW, Washington DC. Members of the press wishing to attend in person must request accreditation via email before September 22 at Please include your name, surname, ID Number and media outlet in your email.

Credentials will be available for pick-up at PAHO headquarters from 8:00 am on Monday, September 25. Please bring photo ID.

Journalists can also virtually follow the sessions on the PAHO website.

The Directing Council is one of PAHO's governing bodies that brings together the highest health authorities of the Americas to discuss and analyze policies and set priorities for technical cooperation and collaboration among countries.