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Dr Jarbas Barbosa, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), urges the Caribbean and other ministers of health and high-level delegates to utilise all available knowledge and resources to ensure that people’s health is catered for future pandemics and emergencies.
The Director was speaking on Wednesday at a session on strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness during the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
Barbosa also highlighted that while preventing a pandemic may be extremely difficult, “we must break the historic pattern of panic and neglect regarding pandemic threats.”
He added that proper analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic response is key in understanding the challenges faced, the failures and the strengths showed, along with identifying the actions needed to implement immediately.
The PAHO Director underscored that many countries, including those in the Americas and the Caribbean, faced challenges in responding to the pandemic, particularly regarding surveillance and access to diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and qualified health personnel.
He added that PAHO will continue its work with member states to share information about these negotiation processes and facilitate dialogue to ensure equitable participation of the region, including small island developing states (SIDS).