Washington, D.C., 18 June (OPS/OMS)- The Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today begins its 162nd session at the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office for the Americas, in order to discuss strategies and plans of action to improve the health of the Americas.

Chaired by Panama, the committee will meet until 30 June to discuss strategies and plans, developed in consultation with its Member States, which guide regional cooperation.

"As we look towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as well as our own Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas, 2018-2030, there are some imperative priorities to be addressed in the next five years," said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne.

Issues to be discussed during the Committee include: action plans to ensure the health of women, children and adolescents; the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer; and the human resources required for universal health access and coverage. "We must collectively recommit ourselves to developing resilient health systems and ensure the delivery of quality, affordable and people-centered health care services," said Etienne at the opening of the meeting.

The Committee will also address issues around entomology and vector control, and the strengthening of tobacco control measures in the Americas.

"In spite of our current successes in the health area, we cannot fail to recognize that there are many persons who still cannot afford to pay for the medicines and treatments that they need," added Etienne. "Our principal charge must be to help to significantly diminish these unmet needs.

Representatives from the nine Member States that compose the Executive Committee - Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina, Brazil, Belize, Canada, Chile: Colombia; Panama and Peru, will also receive progress reports including on road safety; the reduction in maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity; integrated child health; climate change; eHealth; bioethics; health and international relations, among other issues.

The deliberations of the Committee will determine the final agenda to be addressed during the 56th Directing Council, that will take place 24 to 28 September this year.

The Executive Committee functions as a working group of the Pan American Sanitary Conference and the Directing Council of PAHO. It is composed of nine Member States elected by the Pan American Sanitary Conference or the Directing Council of PAHO to serve for three-year periods. It meets twice a year or more frequently if there is a special request of the Director of PAHO or at least three Member States.


-  Working documents of the 162nd Executive Committee of PAHO