Panama designated as Vice-President of the 69th World Health Assembly


Geneva, 23 May 2016 (PAHO/WHO) - Panama has been designated as Vice-President of the 69th World Health Assembly, representing the Region of the Americas at the Assembly, which is taking place from 23 to 28 May in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Minister of Health of Panama, Francisco Javier Terrientes, will be one of the five vice-presidents appointed to the Assembly, corresponding to each world region of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Terrientes, a radiologist and graduate of the University of Panama Medical School, will represent the 35 countries of the Americas that are WHO Member States.

With over 20 years' experience in the field of medicine, Terrientes was appointed to head the Ministry of Health in 2014 by Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela, whose administration is working to reform the health system and achieve universal health coverage.

The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization. The main functions of the Health Assembly, which is attended by delegations from the 194 WHO Member States every year, are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget.

This year, the presidency of the Assembly rotates to the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region. The Minister of Health of Oman, A.M. Al Saidi, was elected president.

Armenia, Chad, Malaysia, and East Timor were elected as vice-presidents, in addition to Panama.