Annual Report of the Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau
Informe anual del Director de la Oficina Sanitaria Panamericana
Rapport annuel du Directeur du Bureau sanitaire panaméricain
Relatório anual do Diretor da Repartição Sanitária Pan-Americana
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[Preface]. The year under review, covering the period of July 2015 to June 2016, was a challenging time for public health in the Americas. Having escaped the potential ravages of the Ebola virus outbreak with only a few imported and secondary infections and two deaths, our Region was once again confronted with another infectious disease emergency in mid-2015. This epidemic was due to the newly emerging Zika virus, whose severe consequences and sequelae would only become gradually apparent over the ensuing months. Following its first detection in Brazil in May 2015, Zika virus had been confirmed in 40 countries and territories across the Region by 21 June 2016. The rapid spread of the Zika virus was enabled by a confluence of factors. These included the presence of immunologically naïve human populations and the high prevalence of the ubiquitous vector—the Aedes aegypti mosquito—together with increased intraregional travel and mobility. A robust regional public health response to this emergency was mounted, galvanized, and led by the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, which is the Secretariat of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). We provided dynamic leadership and timely technical support and guidance to our Member States as we all grappled with this new challenge. We actively coordinated with the World Health Organization (WHO), other United Nations (UN) agencies, and key partners to ensure value-added joint action. We convened subject matter experts, specialists, and researchers to shape and prioritize a regional research agenda. We stimulated the generation of valuable new knowledge in the face of the numerous questions that arose. Even in the context of limited scientific information, we articulated ethical and evidence-based policy options, especially regarding the associated reproductive health issues...In addition to the Zika epidemic, the Bureau responded to other health emergencies during the year under review, while continuing to undertake a broad range of non-emergency technical cooperation programs in close collaboration with our Member States. The report details this work and highlights some of the milestones achieved. It also underscores efforts to improve our internal processes and procedures in order to strengthen the efficiency and delivery of technical cooperation, while simultaneously analyzing some of the lessons that we have learned and the challenges that we will face as we continue to implement the PAHO Strategic Plan 2014-2019 and address the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In presenting this report to PAHO’s Governing Bodies, I would like to convey my sincerest appreciation to all of our staff for their diligence, dedication, commitment, and arduous work during this 2015–2016 period. I am also extremely grateful to our Member States, donors, and other partners for their invaluable guidance and unstinting support and collaboration over these 12 months. I invite all of PAHO’s stakeholders to join us in further building on the experiences and achievements described in this report in order to fulfill the promise of ensuring the best health possible for every woman, man, and child in our Hemisphere.
Category of PAHO Strategic Plan 2014-2019
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