PHE Annual Report 2017 SmallDuring the year 2017, the Latin American and Caribbean Region was affected by three Category 5 hurricanes impacting 19 countries and territories; as well as two earthquakes with a magnitude over 7 that stroke Mexico, severe floods in Peru and Chile, and a landslide in Colombia; all of which reminded us of the destructive capacity of natural disasters. Furthermore, the rapid emergence of the Zika virus affecting 48 countries and territories combined with the outbreak of Yellow Fever in 10 states of Brazil with peri-urban transmission, as well as the re-emergence of epidemic-prone pathogens such as malaria, diphtheria and measles, raised the levels of public health alerts throughout the Region, highlighting challenges in knowledge, research and coordination.

The 2017 Annual Report of the Department of Health Emergencies (PHE) outlines the work and achievements of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in support of its Member States in the area of health emergency risk management and provides a path for moving forward towards a more resilient health sector in the Americas.

2017 marked the first full year of operation of the new PAHO Health Emergencies Department following the implementation of WHO’s global reform on health emergencies, in an effort to improve the operational and time response capacity of the Organization with regards to health threats. As a roadmap for the Organization’s work in disaster management, the Health Emergencies Department seeks to develop a health sector with enough capacity, strong national leadership, and resilience to rapidly recover from the impact of health emergencies and disasters and be able to protect the wellbeing of their communities.

The PHE 2017 Annual Report is articulated into four chapters which correspond to the four strategic lines of work of the organization in disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance:

  • Chapter1: To improve capacity of Member States to provide a timely and appropriate response to disasters, complex emergen¬cies and other health crises;
  • Chapter 2: To enhance capacity of national health systems in emergen¬cy preparedness and disaster risk reduction; 
  • Chapter 3: To increase effectiveness of PAHO and the Health Cluster in responding to disasters; 
  • Chapter 4: PAHO’s work is important cross-cutting themes that are mainstreamed into all activities: ethnicity; governance; gender; and human rights

The report can be downloaded here.