PAHO Director meets with President of Guyana during official country visit

27 Oct 2022
President Irfaan Ali

Georgetown, 27 October 2022 (PAHO/WHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Carissa F. Etienne, met President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Tuesday during her official visit to the country. Top of the agenda included Guyana's response to COVID-19, post-pandemic recovery, and the modernization of the primary health care system.

Dr. Etienne welcomed the decision to increase the country's health budget over the next few years, as well as the Package of Essential Health Services for Primary Health Care that seeks to ensure equal access to health services for all.

She also urged the President to prioritize "the poorest and most vulnerable," and to ensure the reduction of "out-of-pocket expenditure."

President Irfaan Ali thanked Dr. Etienne for PAHO's support to the country and expressed his interest in continuing to work together to improve the country's health sector. He also requested PAHO's technical support in the production of medicines. Dr. Etienne agreed to include Guyana in future discussions regarding the regional production of medicines, vaccines and other health technologies.

country cooperation strategy signing

During the Technical staff meeting, Dr. Etienne and the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony also signed the new PAHO/WHO Country Cooperation Strategic note for the next five years. This strategy will guide technical cooperation between PAHO/WHO and the Guyana to strengthen the country's health systems, NCDs and mental health, and improve health and well-being across the life course.

In commemoration of PAHO's 120 anniversary, Dr. Etienne and Dr. Anthony also planted trees at the proposed site of a new Pediatric and Maternity Hospital at Ogle, East Coast Demerara, in Georgetown. The 256-bed hospital is part of an initiative to improve quality of health care services for children and high-risk mothers.

Tree Planting

During her visit, Dr. Etienne also met with CARICOM authorities and the United Nations country team in Guyana to discuss inter-agency coordination for health and development.