STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
DURING THE SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FOURTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THURSDAY 17TH OCTOBER, 2019
AT THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
ROAD TOWN, TORTOLA
The 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Mister Speaker, I am pleased to update this Honourable House on my attendance and participation at the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which took place at the PAHO Headquarters in Washington, D.C. between 30 September - 4 October 2019. I was accompanied by Dr. Irad Potter, our Chief Medical Officer, and joined by other Caribbean Overseas Territories as part of the delegation of the United Kingdom.
The purpose of this annual gathering of Health Ministers and officials from North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean is to discuss health priorities for the Americas and to seek agreement on regional strategies and plans of action that address our common and most pressing health challenges.
Seven new regional initiatives were approved at the meeting, which seek to:
- Accelerate efforts to eliminate more than 30 diseases and conditions from the Americas by the year 2030.
- Improve the quality of health care for all people, focusing on technical quality, cultural appropriateness, financing, and comprehensive care.
- Increase equitable access to organ, tissue and cell transplants throughout the Americas.
- Eliminate trans-fatty acids from industrially processed foods by 2025 through stepped-up regulatory action and consumer education.
- Strengthen information systems for health, seizing opportunities presented by the digital revolution to improve health systems and decision- and policymaking in health.
- Accelerate efforts to address the special health needs and obstacles faced by ethnic groups in the Americas, including indigenous, Afro-descendant, Roma and other ethnic groups.
- Strengthen health systems by fully incorporating health promotion, specifically social, political and technical action that addresses the conditions where people are born, grow, live, work, and age.
Mister Speaker I was pleased to make an intervention on the topic of Strengthening Information Systems for Health, as it provided an opportunity to showcase the leadership role that the Virgin Islands has played in the region of the Americas. The BVI’s National Information Systems for Health Policy was taken into consideration as a reference document for PAHO’s Plan of Action for Strengthening Information Systems for Health 2019-2023 and its Information Systems for Health Framework. I highlighted the fact that the initiative was started in the Caribbean and extended to the entire region of the Americas.
The Directing Council also approved a new strategic plan for PAHO, which sets out country action and PAHO technical cooperation over the next six years to reduce the main causes of death and illness in the Americas while addressing persisting inequities in health.
During the Directing Council, the Pan American Health Organization’s Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas presented its final report, which offers 12 recommendations for the countries of the Americas to reduce inequities and health inequalities.
Side events held during the meeting focused on migrant health, best practices in maternal health, healthy aging, mental health, adolescent and youth health, and public health approaches to violence, among others. Exhibits included an interactive display on disease elimination and a celebration of 25 years free of polio in the Americas.
Mister Speaker, in closing I would like to say that I am honoured to represent the Virgin Islands as we continue to meaningfully engage with regional and international partners towards improving the health and wellbeing of our people.