Washington, D.C., 31 August 2019 (PAHO/WHO) – On August 22 and 23, PAHO´s Workers’ Health Program in the Unit on Health Promotion and Social Determinants/FPL held the 2019 Meeting of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centers (CCs) on Occupational Health in Washington, DC. Representatives from 14 Collaborating Centers, 4 candidate institutions and a delegate from the Latin American Occupational Health Association (ALSO) joined the meeting. PAHO colleagues from FPL and KMP together with delegates from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) greeted and updated the attendees on their current policies. The purpose was to review the achievements and final contributions of the CCs for the implementation of the PAHO Action Plan on Workers Health 2015-2025 (APWH 2015-2025), identify the challenges for its implementation and discuss new opportunities of collaboration.
In preparation to this meeting, twelve e-meetings were held in June and July with the directors and technical bodies of the CCs, to address key topics defined during the 2015 CCs Meeting held in Montreal, Canada. These meetings served to discuss and learn about the CCs activities done during the last four years, exchange experiences and build proposals focusing on their achievements. Topics included regional initiatives to: eradicate silicosis and asbestos-related-diseases, prevent occupational cancer, care for health workers, prevent Chronic Kidney Disease of non-Traditional Causes (CKDnt) in agricultural workers, promote workers’ health, address occupational diseases, strengthen workers’ surveillance and metrics, address inequalities and universal health coverage for the informal workforce, and consider the effects and impacts of climate change at work.
During the two days of the face to face meeting, the results achieved by the CCs contribution to the PAHO/WHO APWH 2015-2025 were acknowledged. Several presentations led by PAHO together with ILO and some CCs highlighted current challenges and difficulties for the following years. Discussion groups on the key topics met to determine different alternatives for improving effective collaboration, enhancing communications and yielding contributions for effective information dissemination about their results. Groups reported back to the plenary during the last day of the meeting, providing feedback on the ways of work and next steps to move forward in the years that follow.
The PAHO/WHO CCs on Occupational Health Network is one of the largest collaborative networks in PAHO. Their commitment and support to the PAHO/WHO APWH 2015-2025, as well as for organizing and results of this meeting, demonstrates the importance they have for attaining the ambitious goals of this plan. A complete report of this meeting and its results is expected to follow in September 2019.