Day 4: 55th Directive Council Meeting of PAHO

The fourth day started the activities with the budget presentation for WHO Programs for biennium 2018-2019, where Health Emergencies Program, Non Communicable Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance were highlighted as priorities.

Then, the Plan of action for the elimination of Malaria 2016-2020 was presented and PAHO expressed its commitment on helping to maintain the progress of Member States in the Region regarding the elimination of local transmission of malaria and prevent possible restoration of disease, for further progress towards the elimination of malaria in all Member States. Moreover, it reiterated that the Region is committed to the following list of targets for the period 2016-2020: a) an additional reduction of 40% or more of malaria morbidity (based on official figures from 2015); b) a further reduction of 40% or more of malaria-related deaths (based on official figures from 2015); c) carrying out activities for the elimination of malaria in 18 of the 21 endemic countries and achieving the status of “malaria free” at least in 4 countries; d) the adoption of innovative approaches to meet the challenges in those countries where progress has been limited; and e) preventing restoration of malaria in countries that have been declared free of the disease.

During the debate, Member States not only requested for continuity of technical support from the Regional Office but also expressed its commitment with the PAHO for the plan for the elimination of malaria.

During the session about Migrants Health, Member States recognized that migrants are a vulnerable group in our region, in that way Member States, as appropriate in their respective contexts and priorities, can take advantage of the PAHOs policy elements to address the specific health needs of migrants. Furthermore, Member States urge to PAHO to keep going with its support and joint efforts to Health Systems strengthening and continue with Universal Health Access and Universal Health Coverage strategies, this as a way to address inequities in health, lack of access to health services and migrant health issues.

It was mentioned that the new strategic plan of action at regional level against neglected infectious diseases (NID) and the measures subsequent to elimination, focus on the elimination and extended control of NID, as well addressing the needs of the community after removal. In addition, Member States support the multi and inter-sectorial approach of this strategy.

As an IFMSA priority, we gave special attention on the session about the Plan of action for disaster risk reduction. It had been mentioned that this action plan is focused on continuing strengthening the disaster risk reduction to prevent deaths, disease, disability and psychosocial impact resulting from emergencies and disasters. Having in mind the four strategic lines of action of this plan (1. Disaster risk knowledge in the health sector, 2. Governance of disaster risk management in the health sector, 3. Safe and Intelligent Hospitals, and 4. Capacity of Health Sector in preparation for the response and recovery from emergencies and disasters), Member States have fully supported the strategy further highlighting the great importance of a Global health emergency workforce and of promote the resilience of health systems.

Despite it is the penultimate day of activities of this Directing Council, we keep excited to continue having an active participation in the meeting as we have been doing so far through the statements presentations and advocacy. Besides, we invite you to keep updated about this meeting and its relevant issues on social media and also through PAHO and IFMSAs web pages.

Alan Patlan

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