Washington, D.C., 30 september 2019 (PAHO/WHO)- The Minister of Health of Costa Rica, Daniel Salas Peraza, was elected President of the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which brings together the higest health authorities of the Americas to discuss health policies and priorities for the Region.

From today until Friday 4 October, Salas will lead the meeting where officials will discuss strategies and plans, including on reducing cardiovascular diseases through the elimination of trans fatty acids from industrial food production; promoting voluntary organ donation, tissues and cells and equal access to transplants; and improving the quality of medical care.  

“Thank you to all the members of this council. Thank you very much to Dr. Carissa Etienne for her recommendation, and thank you and and my condolences to the outgoing president – the Minister of Health of the Bahamas for his distinguished leadership of the Directing Council, and the situation that the Bahamas has been experiencing in recent weeks,” said Salas when he assumed the presidency. 

 Minister of Health of Costa Rica, Daniel Salas Peraza

Salas, who succeeds the presidency from Duane Sands of the Bahamas, is a doctor and surgeon who specializes in public health management and applied epidemiology. He was a surveillance coodinator of noncommunicable diseases and has held management positions at the Education, Nutrition, and Child Comprehensive Care Centers (CEN-CINAI). He was also national coordinator for the Expanded Program on Immunization, for the Surveillance for Immunopreventable Diseases, for the Surveillance of Pesticide Poisoning, and for the Preparation Commission for Influenza Pandemics.

He also served as technical secretary of the National Vaccination Commission; Acting Directing of the Ciudad Quesada Health Area and the Aguas Zarcas Health Area. He was also member of the Regional Strategic Health Development Unit.

The Minister of Health of Jamaica, Christopher Tufton, and the Minister of Health of Paraguay, Julio Mazzoleni, were elected to occupy the two vice-presidencies of the Directing Council. The Minister of Health of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Sánchez, was selected to be rapporteur.