The second day of the 55th directive council meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) started in the best way with a really warm welcome from Dr. Carissa Etienne, PAHO Director who we meet on our way to the main room. She welcomed us and even before we had a chance to say something, she said to her companion: “This is the Federation of Medical Students!” We were extremely happy that she remembered us and some of us were even shocked with her warm welcome..
On this second day, we had the chance to be part of a milestone on the public health field! The Region of the Americas was the first in the world to have eliminated measles. Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015. When talking about this success Dr. Carissa Etienne stated that It would not have been possible without the generosity and commitment of health workers and volunteers who have worked so hard to take the benefits of vaccines to all people, including those in vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities. Indeed it would not have been possible without the strong leadership and coordination provided by PAHO, Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.
It was a good moment for us to remembered how every little thing we do can makes a difference and the true essence of public health is our human resources for health.
Also we had the chance to learn more about the PAHO Plan of Action for the term 2014 – 2019, were it was stated several times that it was developed with the idea that if everything was a priority then nothing was a priority specially when you got limited resources. For us will be important to stay on top of the Plan of Action and try our best to integrate in PAHO Regional Strategies.
We also meet two of the six candidates for Director General of the WHO and enjoyed their presentations. We look forward to continue the good work on the field regarding who is elected but we sure will be on top of everything.
Later, we had the chance to intervene in agenda point 4.4, the Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors:
“In IFMSA, we strive to maintain a high level of integrity and transparency when cautiously selecting our partners and funding opportunities. Similarly, we encourage precaution when it comes to involving certain stakeholders with PAHO. We want an organisation that transparently, inclusively, proactively and consciously sets clear guidelines for a healthier future. We consider youth to be an essential actor in this matter, and therefore we urge for a ?concrete ?involvement plan of youth in the framework.
IFMSA is representing the future generation of healthcare leaders eager to take active responsibility in shaping the future of our region. Engaging us, your youth, when deciding on health issues is essential to ensure a strong and relevant PAHO, as well as to maximise our common potential to improve global health. “
It was a really productive day and we are happy to be here and that you can share with us the experience. Stay tune!!!
Mara Jos Cisneros