From September 23 to 27, 2018,Health Ministers and other authorities of the countries of the Region of the Americas met in Washington D.C., U.S.A., to participate in the 56th Session of the PAHO Directing Council and the 70th Session of the Regional Committee of WHO for the Americas. The objective was to define priorities in technical cooperation and collaboration among countries and plans to address the great health challenges faced by the Region.
During the 56th Directing Council, health authorities from the Region of the Americas analyzed a series of plans to reduce the deficit of health professionals, reduce the cases of and deaths caused by cervical cancer, and improve the health of women, children and teenagers. Actions were also discussed for enhancing control of vectors that transmit diseases such as malaria, Zika and Chagas disease.
The Director of PAHO presented her annual report, which this year was centered on Primary Health Care, close to the 40th anniversary of the First International Conference of Primary Health Care, celebrated in 1978 in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, where countries agreed to achieve “health for all”.
The President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, was nominated Public Health Hero for the Americas, the highest distinction given by PAHO/WHO, in recognition for his leadership in the prevention and control of non-transmissible diseases, as well as for the actions undertaken by his home country for controlling tobacco, which constitute an example for the rest of the world.
The Latin-American and Caribbean Center for Health Sciences Information (BIREME), a PAHO/WHO Regional Center on scientific information, was on the agenda with two main topics: (1) current situation of the Pan-American Centers; and (2) substitution of three member countries of its Advisory Committee.
About BIREME’s new institutionality
Effective since January 2010, BIREME’s new institutional framework defines in its governing structure in its Statute, which establishes the Advisory Committee (AC) and the Scientific Committee (SC), to perform advising functions for the PAHO/WHO Direction in all things related to the programmatic, management and technical cooperation functions of the Center.
Article VI of the BIREME Statute, approved by the 49th Directing Council of the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), resolution CD49.R5, establishes that BIREME’s AC will be constituted by two permanent members: one appointed by the PAHO/WHO Director and the other by the Government of Brazil; and five non permanent members, which must be selected and appointed by the Directing Council or the Pan-American Health Conference of PAHO, taking into account geographical representation. During the 56th Session of the Directing Council (CD56), Guyana, Mexico and Uruguay were elected as new members of BIREME’s AC for the 2019-2021, substituting Argentina, Jamaica and Peru, which will conclude their mandate in December 2018.
It is the duty of BIREME’s Advisory Committee, among other functions, to formulate recommendations for the Director of Office on the programmatic functions of BIREME, based on PAHO’s Strategic Plan and the technical cooperation Work Plan, as well as the recommendations of BIREME’s Scientific Committee members (Article VI, 4[a]).
56th Directing Council Coverage. Available from: https://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14580:56th-directing-council-coverage&Itemid=815&lang=en
56th Directing Council and 70th Session of the Regional Committee of WHO for the Americas. Washington, D.C., 23-27 September 2018. Available from: https://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14469:56th-directing-council&Itemid=40507&lang=en