Washington, DC, June 24, 2019 (PAHO/WHO) - The Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) began today its 164th session at the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office for the Americas, in order to discuss strategies and plans of action to improve the health of the Americas.

Chaired by Canada, the committee will meet until 28 June to discuss strategies and plans, developed in consultation with its Member States, which guide regional cooperation.

Issues to be discussed during the Committee include: strategies and action plans to improve quality of care in health service delivery; to ensure donations and equitable access to organ, tissue and cell transplants; on ethnicity and health; and on health promotion within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Committee will also address issues around the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids, and the strengthening of information systems for health. A PAHO disease elimination initiative for an integrated approach to communicable disease will also be discussed during the meeting.

In the opening, PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne, said that against the different challenges that the region will be facing “we must find the opportunity and the undeterred fortitude to continue discharge our mission to lead strategic collaborative efforts among Member States and other partners to promote equity in health, to combat disease, and to improve the quality of, and lengthen, the live of the people of the Americas. The daunting challenges that lay ahead will not be overcome, if we do not continue to work together utilizing collaborative and multi-stakeholder approaches.” 

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne at the 164th Executive Committee

Dr. Etienne said that the foundation of PAHO’s longevity, an organization that will celebrate its 117th anniversary this year, “lies in that enduring solidarity which you have constantly exhibited as we have worked together to successfully eliminate many diseases; to build resilient health systems based on primary health care approaches; and to enhance our collective emergency and disaster responses and responsiveness”.

Representatives from the nine Member States that compose the Executive Committee - Barbados; Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia; Ecuador, Panama, Peru and United States, will receive final reports including on adolescent and youth health and active and healthy aging. They will also receive progress reports on elimination of neglected infectious diseases; chronic kidney disease in agricultural communities in Central America; and sustainability of measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome elimination, among other topics.

164th Executive Committee Room

The deliberations of the Committee will determine the final agenda to be addressed during the 57th Directing Council that will take place September 30 to October 4 this year.

The Executive Committee functions as a working group of the Pan American Sanitary Conference and the Directing Council of PAHO. It is composed of nine Member States elected by the Pan American Sanitary Conference or the Directing Council of PAHO to serve for three-year periods. It meets twice a year or more frequently if there is a special request of the Director of PAHO or at least three Member States.


— Documents for the 164th Executive Committee Session