Geneva, May 22, 2016 (PAHO / WHO) - Suriname was elected as vice-president for the Americas region of the 70th World Health Assembly, which takes place from May 22 to 31 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Suriname's Health Minister Patrick Pengel will be one of the five vice-presidents of the plenary, a position that corresponds to each of the five regions of the world in which the World Health Organization (WHO) is divided. 


Russia's Minister of Health, Veronica Skovtsova, was elected president of the World Health Assembly.

Pengel, who has been Minister of Health since 2015, will represent the 35 countries in the Americas that are WHO Member States. Pengel is a civil engineer with a master's degree in business administration. He has extensive international experience, having  managed several companies and led an initiative to improve health and quality of life in the workplace.

In addition to Suriname, Cape Verde, Somalia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Cook Islands were also elected vice-presidents of the Assembly.

The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization. The main function of the Health Assembly, which brings together the 194 WHO member countries each year, is to determine the policies of the Organization, to appoint the Director-General, to oversee financial policies, and to review and adopt the proposed program budget.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), founded in 1902, acts as the WHO Regional Office for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System.


PAHO / World Health Assembly