PAHO/WHO Director visits Guyana – Pursues multi-sectoral approach in efficient healthcare access and delivery

GINA, GUYANA, Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Director of the Pan American Health Organisation and Regional Director of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Carissa Etienne has arrived in Guyana. The Director will spend the next two days (February 6 and 7) interacting with Government and other health officials to foster multi-sectoral approaches in optimizing healthcare delivery and access in Guyana.

Ministers of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings and Volda Lawrence with Pan American Health organization/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne with Country Representaive PAHO/WHO, Dr. William Adu-Krow

Dr. Etienne was welcomed to Guyana by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Public Health Trevor Thomas, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud and PAHO/WHO Country representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow.

In an invited commented the PAHO/WHO Director told the Government Information Agency (GINA) part of her visit to Guyana includes the signing of an agreement with the Government of Guyana which will outline the organisation’s continued technical co-operation with Guyana as it relates to health.

“We’ve jointly agreed on some of the themes that will be given attention over the next four years. Also, there are some very important issues that we would be revising.One of them is how do we move to universal health coverage and universal access? How is Guyana going to finance this and very importantly also the social determinants of health? How we’re going to ensure that health and the other sectors can work together to improve the health of every Guyanese?” Dr. Etienne explained.

The PAHO Director noted that another of area of focus, which will be highlighted throughout this visit, is the government’s commitment to combatting Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Chronic Diseases while adolescent health will a part of the agenda as well.

Dr. Etienne added, “We will be looking to address some of the important risk factors as we speak with the other sectors and with the other ministries to see how can we work together to ensure that we address those risk factors. How can we work together to ensure that we also can deal with youth pregnancy in particularly, and the problem with adolescence? Many of those things cannot be dealt with by the Ministry of Public Health solely it is multi-sectoral.”

This visit to Guyana by the PAHO/WHO Director can be regarded as a timely one as Guyana continues to makes strides in fulfilling its Health Vision 2020 which aims to have all persons living in Guyana to be among the healthiest in the Caribbean by the year 2020.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence pointed out, “With regards to that dialogue we are looking to ensure that our vision the 2020 vision, that it is in tandem with the work plans of PAHO/WHO to ensure that the collaboration, the strong relationship which Guyana has shared with the organization can be continued.”

Meanwhile it has been highlighted by Minister Cummings that PAHO/WHO continues to play a pivotal role in technical support with regards to healthcare delivery and access. “Over the two days there are a lot of critical issues that will be discussed. NCDs take up about 70 percent of our budget so we definitely will address that. You know we want to ensure our President’s commission comes alive. We also want to ensure that our tobacco control legislation comes to the parliament to pass so we look forward to fruitful discussions over the next two days.” Minister Cummings said.

Dr. Etienne was elected as Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) by the PAHO Sanitary Conference in September 2012 and was subsequently nominated by the Regional Committee for the Americas as Regional Director. The Director, a Dominican national, is the holder of degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of the West Indies in addition to a master’s degree in Community Health and an honorary diploma in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


By: Delicia Haynes


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