PAHO Executive Committee approves key policies and strategies to strengthen health systems and services in the Region

Consejo Directivo 2024
PAHO/WHO/David Spitz

Washington, D.C., June 24, 2024 (PAHO) – On the first day of its session, the Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is being held at PAHO headquarters in Washington, D.C., from June 24 to 28, 2024, approved three key policy documents for the transformation of health systems in the Americas.

Policy on Long-Term Care (LTC) 2025-2034

The policy on long-term care addresses challenges related to care dependency and its impact on individuals, health systems, and societies. Countries are urged to invest in increased access to long-term care and disability prevention services across the life course, organized and coordinated by health and social care systems.

“Meeting long-term care needs constitutes a major challenge for health and social protection systems in the Region of the Americas,” said James Fitzgerald, Director of Health Systems and Services at PAHO. “The formal provision of such care is currently insufficient, with excessive reliance on unpaid care provided by family members, mainly women, whose health and well-being as caregivers suffer as a consequence,” he added. 

This policy provides strategic and technical guidance to PAHO Member States for the development, strengthening and expansion of long-term care capacities, proposing priority action lines to support the delivery of integrated and sustainable services.

Strategy for Strengthening the Essential Public Health Functions to accelerate health systems transformation (EPHF) 2024-2034

The experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need to build the institutional capacities of health authorities in leadership, stewardship, and governance. 

“Preexisting social and institutional structural deficiencies and inadequate attention to stewardship and governance have compounded the situation, emphasizing the need to prioritize public health actions in agendas for health system strengthening,” said James Fitzgerald.

To this end, the strategy presented to the Executive Committee provides a framework to support the actions by PAHO Member States to strengthen the EPHF at national, subnational, and local levels, thereby accelerating health system transformations. The document proposes three strategic action lines to strengthen leadership, stewardship, and governance of health systems based on primary health care through the application of the EPHF at all decision-making levels.

Strategy for Integrating Surgical, Intensive, and Emergency Care 2025-2030

This strategy aims to improve the accessibility, quality, and safety of integrated emergency, critical and operative care in the Americas.

“Integrated emergency, critical and operative services are an integral part of the primary health care approach and an essential strategy for strengthening health systems and meeting national and global health goals,” said Fitzgerald.

The strategy is designed to strengthen clinical management and emergency responsiveness, ensuring universal access to these services within a financially protective system. It also aligns with PAHO's mission to expand access to comprehensive, high-quality care throughout the life course, moving toward the achievement of universal access to health and universal health coverage.

Throughout the week, the Executive Committee will continue to discuss priority issues for the region. For more information about this year's Executive Committee, visit PAHO Executive Committee 2024.

Links to the policy documents:

CE174/16 - Policy on Long-Term Care (LTC) 2025-2034

CE174/17 - Strategy for Strengthening the Essential Public Health Functions to accelerate health systems transformation (EPHF) 2024-2034

CE174/19 - Strategy for Integrating Surgical, Intensive, and Emergency Care 2025-2030