Washington DC, 22 June 2022 (PAHO/WHO)- The Pan American Health Organization Strategic Fund has published the 2021 Annual Report ahead of the 170th Session of the Executive Committee, as ministers of health and other key stakeholders convened to discuss important advances made in public health across the Region.
The report comes amidst the 120th year anniversary of PAHO, at a time when experts and policymakers are looking for innovative and impactful initiatives that can sustainably strengthen health systems in the face of future health crises. PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne welcomed the report, highlighting in the foreword that “the PAHO Strategic Fund constitutes a regional public good for the Americas that can be leveraged by PAHO Member States [...] to source critical lifesaving supplies in times of international public health emergencies.”
In 2021, the Strategic Fund supported more than 41 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean with essential medicines, diagnostics, and other health technologies across a range of communicable and noncommunicable diseases, including HIV and tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, and cancer and hypertension. This work has been done alongside regional support for COVID-19 response, including negotiating with suppliers to decrease the cost of rapid tests, promoting supply resilience through risk mitigation strategies, and identifying potential shortages of key pharmaceutical ingredients, among others.
51 Member States, territories, and health agencies now use the PAHO Strategic Fund to facilitate access to treatments and supplies, and demand has increased given complex constraints in public health and economic support. As a result, the mechanism also acted as a tool to support its partners, including coordinating 18 multi-country collaborations for over 100 requests of loans and donations, averting stockouts for essential medicines, and extending over US$72 million through its interest-free credit lines.
The Strategic Fund has had to evolve alongside shifting environments and priorities, with new ways of working to support Member States in 2021. One initiative was continuous investments in research to strengthen evidence-based decision-making, such as on the contribution of the Strategic Fund to sustaining priority health programs during COVID-19, or the role of technical cooperation via the Strategic Fund in advancing leishmaniasis elimination programs. Another way was reducing costs and improving affordability and accessibility, such as through digitization efforts to streamline operations and planning as well as negotiations with suppliers and procurement partners to minimize delivery and freight expenses. Finally, the mechanism has increased its portfolio of product offerings year over year, in line with international standards and updates to essential medicines and diagnostics lists, to ensure that available health technologies meet the needs of all people of diverse communities.
From significantly reducing the costs of cardiovascular treatments to supporting regional elimination strategies for neglected tropical diseases, the PAHO Strategic Fund has helped to strengthen health systems as the foundation of public health. The mechanism will continue to support countries in strengthening health resiliency and equity in the face of crises, while ensuring affordability and accessibility of health products for all people in the Americas.
Key highlights of the 2021 report
- 51 participating entities:
- 34 Member States and territories and 17 health agencies
- Over US$ 318 million dollars in purchases placed in 2021, including procurement of
- Over 2,350,000 anti-malarial treatments
- Over 695,000 anti-tuberculosis treatments
- Over 485,000 anti-retroviral treatments
- Over 310,000 antibiotic treatments
- Efforts to control and eliminate communicable and noncommunicable diseases, resulting in:
- Over 8,700,000 people impacted through vector control supplies
- Over 1,700,000 diagnostic tests for HIV
- Over 500,000 diagnostic tests for malaria
- Over 180,000 diagnostic tests for tuberculosis
- Over 160,000 diagnostic tests for hepatitis B and C
- Over 110,000 diagnostic tests for NTDs
- Procurement of US$ 183 million related to COVID-19 medicines and supplies across 200 shipments, including over 13 million COVID-19 rapid tests, ICU medicines for 6 countries, and US$ 2.5 million in freight savings for Member States.
- Incease in Strategic Fund’s capital account to US$ 31 million (a 30% increase over 2020) to help Member States pay for essential medicines and supplies.