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PAHO executive committee discusses epidemic intelligence, health sector action on climate change

WASHINGTON, USA, (PAHO) – The executive committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) On Monday began its 174th session in Washington, DC., addressing more than 40 crucial issues to improve health in the Americas. Topics of discussion will include strengthening the health sector in the face of climate change, and implementing epidemic intelligence for the early detection of health emergencies.

PAHO director Jarbas Barbosa emphasized the importance of the Committee for guiding regional efforts: “I am eager to map out concrete actions that we can take together to expand primary health care and help advance universal health coverage,” he said.

Dr Barbosa also highlighted the urgency of increasing vaccination coverage and improving maternal, neonatal, and child health indicators, as well as addressing the growing impact of non-communicable diseases and climate threats, which increase during hurricane season in the Americas.

The PAHO director expressed confidence in the regional response capacity, stressing that the efforts and investments of Member States during the pandemic saved lives, improved access to essential tools, and closed critical gaps in health systems. He stated that the same urgency and innovation are needed to address the most pressing health challenges and ensure equitable access to care.

The executive committee will also discuss strengthening health information systems, reinforcing essential public health functions, reducing the sepsis burden, tobacco control, and integrating surgical and emergency care.

In his speech, Dr Barbosa called for a renewal of Pan-Americanism to build a healthier and brighter future for the region, highlighting the need for continued investment in national health agencies to keep public health a political priority.

In a global call, he urged the Americas to lead in public health innovation and play a crucial role in the global health agenda. Finally, he reaffirmed the commitment to health equity and universal coverage: “We must be relentless in our pursuit of universal health to ensure equal health opportunities for all.”

The executive committee, which is taking place from June 24 to 28 at PAHO headquarters, can be followed here.

This body, which meets twice a year, functions as a working group of the Pan American Sanitary Conference and the PAHO Directing Council and is composed of nine Member States, elected for a three-year term.




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