CARICOM’s SG lauds PAHO head for sterling service

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, February 02, 2018

Secretary-General (SG) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has praised Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Dr. Carissa Etienne for her sterling contribution to Health Service in the Caribbean.

The SG was delivering an address at the inauguration ceremony at PAHO Headquarters in Washington D.C on Thursday, where Dr. Etienne was sworn in for a second term as the PAHO director.

Dr. Carissa Etienne, re-elected- PAHO Director.

“Reward for good work is more hard work,” LaRocque stated lauding her leadership of administrative and management changes to improve the efficiency of PAHO. He commended its successful response to public health emergencies such as Zika, Chikungunya, and Cholera in the Americas which saw a dramatic decline in the number of reported cases of those diseases.

Applauding her leadership of PAHO during its prompt response to relief and recovery following hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, he expressed “heartfelt appreciation” for the continued assistance it continues to render to the Region.

The role of health organisations such as PAHO is critical in disaster management and recovery, he stated, noting the serious threat to the well-being of people in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes.

“The psychological trauma which afflicted those devastated by the loss of loved ones, as well as their property and belongings also had to be addressed. Again, this Organisation, under your leadership, was instrumental in providing assistance in that regard,” the CARICOM Secretary-General said.

He also praised Dr. Etienne and her team for their support of the goal to eliminate Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis, which since 2015, has been achieved by seven Caribbean countries, led by Cuba, the first in the world.

The Secretary-General recalled Dr. Etienne’s praise last December that the Region had made a “remarkable achievement” and had placed the Americas at the forefront of the global effort to ensure no child is born with HIV or congenital syphilis. He also applauded the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) for leading the Region in combating the disease.

Dr. Etienne’s achievements during her first term in office have “surely served to further burnish” her sterling reputation which was evident in the quality of leadership she displayed while serving in Dominica, her home country, Ambassador LaRocque stated.

“Your dynamic leadership transformed the primary health care system in Dominica, bringing health care to the communities,” he said, adding that it was a focus she maintained at the international level when, as Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), she led the global renewal of the primary health care (PHC) approach.

“You also led WHO’s work on universal coverage. This was highlighted by the development of an action agenda for countries at all stages of development to achieve universal coverage and improve health outcomes. That agenda also proposed ways that the international community could better support efforts in low-income countries,” the CARICOM Secretary-General said.

Describing PAHO as a valued partner to CARICOM, he said it continues to play a significant role in the Caribbean Cooperation in Health, the mechanism through which the Member States collectively focus action and resources to achieve agreed goals in health. Additionally, he said PAHO’s co-operation with Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has been invaluable to the Region.

Dr.  Etienne was first elected Director of PAHO by the countries of the Americas in September 2012 during the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference. She was re-elected for a second term in September 2017 and began serving that term on February 1, 2018.


By: Alexis Rodney


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