Dr. Carissa F. Etienne is scheduled to pay courtesy visits to Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of Health Pablo Marin

Dr. Carissa F. EtienneWashington, DC, February 18 (PAHO/WHO) — Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), is visiting Belize from February 18-22 to meet with Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, Minister of Health Pablo Marin, and other high-level officials.

Dr. Etienne’s working meetings with Belizean officials are expected to focus on PAHO’s technical cooperation with Belize and the Director’s vision for universal health and sustainable development. Her visit will also include courtesy visits with the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Wilfred Elrington.

PAHO has been working with Belize and its member countries to advance the goal of “universal health” ever since ministers of health from throughout the Americas collectively endorsed that goal in 2014. The framework for these efforts is known as the primary health care (PHC) strategy, a strategic approach to developing, organizing, and financing health systems and services that are equitable, sustainable, and centered on people, families, and communities.

Dr. Etienne will also participate in a meeting of PAHO’s representatives in Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. That meeting will define strategic, programmatic and managerial approaches for the Organization’s national and subregional technical cooperation. It will also focus on repositioning public health for the 21st century and will include a presentation by the Minister of Health Pablo Marin.

During her visit, Dr. Etienne will be accompanied by PAHO/WHO Chief of Staff Dr. Merle Lewis and PAHO/ WHO Representative in Belize Dr. Noreen Jack. The Director will visit the Matron Roberts Polyclinic, one of the health centers that provides comprehensive health care as part of an integrated service network.

The Director is scheduled to participate in the launch of the Belize Human Resources for Universal Health Strategic Plan 2019-2024, which aims to increase the number of health care professionals.

A native of Dominica, Dr. Etienne has visited Belize several times since she was elected on September 2012 as the Director of PAHO and re-elected for a second five-year term in 2017.

PAHO provides support to countries as they initiated or deepened reforms aimed at strengthening the first level of care, and also provides support with the overall organization, management, and financing of health systems to increase their effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Last year, Dr Etienne’s Annual Report focused on primary health care in order to guide the efforts of countries from the region to transform the vision of ‘health for all’ into reality.

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