MIL OSI Translation. Region: Spanish / Latin America / UN –
Source: Republic of Colombia
Photo: Pan American Health Organization.
Washington, September 24, 2021. Colombia participated in the 59th session of the Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that took place between September 20 and 24, 2021. The function of the Directing Council is to determine policies, debate regional priorities in public health and establish strategies and action plans to improve the health of the population and prevent diseases and deaths. It also acts as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas. It meets once a year in the years when the Pan American Sanitary Conference is not held and acts on its behalf. In 2022, the 30th edition of the Conference will take place.
The representation of Colombia was made up of delegates from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Foreign Ministry, and was led by the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Fernando Ruiz, who closed his term as President of the 58th Directing Council, pointing out the enormous challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic imposed on the health systems of the region and the opportunity to articulate efforts in an organization such as PAHO that lead to the strengthening of capacities for production and development of health technology to face new threats.
Likewise, Colombia took the opportunity to reiterate the national government’s commitment to strengthening multilateralism to face the health challenges left by the COVID-19 pandemic and its appreciation for the efforts made by PAHO to articulate regional strategies that enable Member States to guarantee access to health services for their citizens.
It is noteworthy that the opening session was attended by other senior authorities, including the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera; the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Javier Becerra; the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom and the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Mauricio Claver-Carone, among other important personalities.
Within the framework of the debate on “Revitalizing immunization as a public good for universal health”, Colombia led the discussion and adoption of a PAHO resolution through which the Organization will be requested to provide support and technical assistance to the countries in their processes of development and implementation of smart vaccination certificates, and the processes of mutual recognition of these certificates between countries.
Likewise, the final text includes the calls and concerns expressed by Colombia regarding the recognition and acceptance of the vaccines recommended by the WHO in the context of international travel in the framework of the COVD-19 pandemic. In this way, the national government implements concrete actions to facilitate the international mobility of all Colombians and promote sustainable economic reactivation.
The Directing Council adopted a total of 13 resolutions in different programmatic, administrative, and budgetary areas of the agency, among which are those related to: the Program Budget of the Pan American Health Organization 2022-2023; the Roadmap for the digital transformation of the health sector in the Region of the Americas; Increasing the production capacity of essential medicines and health technologies; Revitalization and immunization as a public good for universal health; and the Strategy for Building Resilient Health Systems and Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery to Maintain and Protect Public Health Achievements.
Finally, in the meeting of heads of delegation of the Member States, prior to the meeting of the Directing Council, the nomination of Colombia was confirmed by the countries of the region to occupy the position of Vice President of the Executive Council of the World Organization of Health (WHO) in 2022.
In this position, Colombia will act as alternate moderator in the discussions of the WHO Executive Board in the coming year. It is worth remembering that Colombia is a member until 2023 of this important deliberative body of the WHO, which is made up of representatives of 34 member countries of the Organization, technically qualified in the field of health. Its main functions are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the WHO Health Assembly, to advise it and, generally, to facilitate its work.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.