Collaboration essential to make promise of health a reality for everyone across the Americas

9 Nov 2022
COVID-19 vaccine batch

Boston, 9 November 2022 (PAHO) – During the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Mary Lou Valdez underscored the need to make use of collective resources and expertise to tackle pervasive health disparities across the region.

“For over a century, the Americas have relied on cooperation because our health, security and prosperity are interdependent,” Valdez said at the Global Health Leaders’ Breakfast hosted by APHA’s Executive Director, Dr. Georges Benjamin, to mark the Association’s 150th and PAHO’s 120th anniversaries.

“As we recover and rebuild from this pandemic, we must continue to work together, as a region, to overcome the obstacles that stand between us and a resilient, healthy future,” the PAHO Deputy Director said.

Particularly in the face of global challenges such as climate change, it is critical that “our populations can count on health systems to offer the care they need to remain healthy,” she said.

She recalled that much has been accomplished in public health through solidarity and cooperation: since PAHO’s inception in 1902, the region has eliminated diseases that long threatened the peoples of the Americas, such as polio, measles, rubella and neonatal tetanus.

The Deputy Director highlighted that the Americas was the only global region to work as a bloc to purchase COVID-19 vaccines through PAHO’s Revolving Fund. “These efforts have helped us to administer over two billion COVID-19 vaccines across the region.”

She added that donations of COVID-19 vaccines from the United States “were a critical lifeline” for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean when manufacturers faced supply constraints.

PAHO participated in several events during the 2022 APHA annual meeting, with PAHO experts presenting on topics such as the social determinants of health, universal access, health systems, and health equity.

Founded in 1872, the American Public Health Association (APHA) is the leading public health organization in the United States. APHA is at the forefront of efforts to advance prevention, reduce health disparities and promote wellness.

In December 2022, PAHO celebrates 120 years of active work in the field of public health in the Americas.