January 29, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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PAHO prepares countries in the region for future epidemics with a workshop - Dagblad Suriname

PAHO prepares countries in the region for future epidemics with a workshop – Dagblad Suriname

To help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean develop or update their operational plans for dealing with epidemics that have been prepared in the future, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is holding a regional workshop this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. About preparing for and responding to events with a pandemic and potential epidemics. This workshop will build on lessons learned from Covid-19.

“As we come together today, we are still dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic and facing an outbreak of monkeypox in many countries at the same time,” said Carissa F Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization. “Covid-19 has been a massive challenge” and “a stark reminder of the responsibility we all have to invest in prevention, preparedness and response to infectious pathogens.”

Dr. Etienne confirmed that there were 170 million cases and nearly 3 million deaths from Covid-19 in America as of last Wednesday. She noted that other respiratory pathogens are re-emerging and that seasonal influenza causes between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths in the region each year. “We must never forget that the question is not whether the pandemic will spread as a result of a new influenza virus, but when it will,” she cautioned.

“Our ability to respond to health emergencies depends on what we did before they happened and on what we learned from previous emergencies such as Covid-19,” said the Director of the Pan American Health Organization at the opening of the workshop. Technical experts participated in epidemiology, laboratory, immunization and risk communication from the Ministries of Health in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Suriname.

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A pandemic and pandemic preparedness plan is one of the core capabilities required by the International Health Regulations (IHR), an international legally binding treaty adopted by member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) to address and threaten public health that may cross borders. They affect, prevent and respond to populations around the world.

“Well-functioning health systems are the foundation of healthcare security,” said Dr. Etienne, and it is essential to “secure the supply chains for vaccines, medicines, laboratory reagents, personal protective equipment and other strategic public health goods” before the next day an emergency occurs, and “ Health systems resilience is enhanced by workforce and planning.”

The Director of the Pan American Health Organization indicated that two centers in Argentina and Brazil were designated by the World Health Organization for the development and future production of vaccines using mRNA technology, which is expected to improve timely and equal access to vaccines in the region. Adequacy. She stressed that “all this is necessary for us to be prepared for emergencies that threaten our region.”

Argentina’s Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti, said that the Covid-19 pandemic showed that health “must be a priority for everyone” because “without health there is no study, work or production.” After noting that the government needed to reformulate its response to the pandemic, Vizzotti said the region needed to address issues around access to medical facilities – something learned during the Covid-19 pandemic – and “we should think about how we can produce vaccines and expand access to them”.

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Speaking about the countries’ response to the emergency, Vizzotti said: “We have been able to do many things in a very short time. We need to look back to see what we have learned, but also look forward to making improvements and taking measures that will put us in a better position for the pandemic.” Next “.

“The COVID-19 epidemic is far from over,” said the representative of the Pan American Health Organization in Argentina, Eva Jani Lopes, adding that since the declaration of a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, “the response had to be adjusted, to seek funding and involve the other sectors” due to its size and duration. “Reflecting on what we’ve done, bringing it to the level of strategies and thinking about other epidemiological challenges is critical to continuing to move forward,” she said.