A new organizational structure to strengthen PAHO’s technical cooperation

Organizational chart

Washington, DC, May 4, 2023 – Under the leadership of the new Director, Jarbas Barbosa, and in keeping with the Pan American Health Organization's commitment and vision to address the new and emerging priorities in health, a decision was made to adjust the organizational structure of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (PASB).

The new organizational structure described below will enhance the ability of the PASB to respond better to the new priorities of technical cooperation, taking into consideration the current public health context and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes will enable the PASB to optimize existing resources and talent across the organization to remain at the forefront of strategic and technical public health matters.

These decisions were guided by the following commitments and mandates:

  • The need to better position the PASB to respond to the priorities reflected by the resolutions adopted by the Member States of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in recent years and the relevant topics that emerged during the pandemic, namely: i) continuing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic; ii) implementing the lessons learned and recommendations from the assessment of our pandemic response; iii) recovering better from the negative impacts of the pandemic on priority health programs and addressing the gaps; iv) building resilient national health systems based on renewed and strengthened Primary Health Care; and v) modernizing and improving PASB management.
  • PAHO’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and active mandates with special attention to closing gaps and responding to the needs of those in vulnerable situations.
  • Responding to Member States' priorities, as set forth in recent years resolutions aimed at achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals and other regional health targets, with equity at the forefront.

The new organizational structure reflects the changes considered relevant after feedback from Department Directors, Unit Chiefs, Center Directors, and extensive consideration of the Executive Management (EXM).

Summary of changes:

  1. Strategically position the Comprehensive Immunization Program (CIM) under the direct supervision of the Assistant Director. This change will allow the Organization to increase the strategic visibility of the CIM, strengthen itself with new and needed technical abilities, and facilitate coordination with the departments and country offices to recover and improve vaccination coverage.
  2. Combine the Strategic Fund for Public Health Supplies (SF) with the Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines (RF) under the new Special Program of Regional Revolving Funds (RRF) under the direct supervision of the Assistant Director. This change will create opportunities for synergies, and the potential integration and optimization of processes.
  3. Reorient the functions of the current Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health (CDE) and rename it as Department of Communicable Disease Prevention, Control, and Elimination (CDE). The functions of this Department will cover: neglected, tropical and vector-borne diseases; HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections; antimicrobial resistance, and PANAFTOSA. This change will allow the Organization to move forward with the disease elimination agenda articulated with integrated service delivery models.
  4. Create a new Department of Social and Environmental Determinants for Health Equity (DHE). The functions of this department will cover climate change and environmental determinants; health promotion and social determinants, including health legislation; equity, gender, human rights, and cultural diversity.  This new department will allow a better coordination of PASB’s response and technical cooperation on social and environmental determinants of health and a better integration of cross-cutting issues, including equity, human rights, gender, interculturality, intersectoral action, and community participation in all programs of the Organization.
  5. Reorient the functions of the current Department of Health Systems and Services (HSS) to cover primary health care and integrated services delivery; human resources for health; healthy life course; the Virtual Campus of Public Health, and the Latin American Center of Perinatology, Women and Reproductive Health (CLAP). This change will allow this department to be better positioned for supporting the ongoing transformation of national health systems to improve equity and resilience, the strengthening and renewal of Primary Health Care (PHC), and to address the relevant issues related to human resources as health systems move towards the achievement of Universal Health.
  6. Adjust the structure of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH) to align with other departments’ structures, organized in units to cover the following functions: health analysis and equity metrics; science and knowledge for impact, including bioethics and research; information systems for health, including digital health, and BIREME. This change will ensure the strengthening of national information systems for health, digital transformation, and the generation and management of knowledge and evidence to improve public health policies.
  7. Create a new Department of Innovation, Access to Medicines and Health Technologies (IMT) to cover the following functions: access to medicines and health technologies; quality and regulation of medicines and health technologies, and the Innovation and Regional Production Platform. This new department will focus on addressing barriers to access medical products, strengthening regulatory capacity, and supporting evidence-based decision making for their rational use through health technology assessment. The Innovation and Regional Production Platform will support the manufacturing of vaccines and other health technologies, increasing regional capacity in the research and development of priority health products, and supporting the generation of ecosystems to enable development, production, and access to medicines and other health technologies.

The new organizational chart became effective on 31 March 2023, following PASB’s rules and regulations.

Link to the oganizational chart of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau - PAHO/WHO | Pan American Health Organization