New PAHO director pledges to work with member States to develop new and innovative approaches to deliver results

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Dr. Carissa Etienne of Dominica

The newly-appointed Regional Director of WHO Americas region and Director of the Pan American Health Organisation –PAHO, is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the health and well-being of the people of the Americas – a region which she says is playing an increasingly important role on the global stage both politically and economically.

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said that as a young medical doctor on the Island of Dominica, she was passionate about service. Now with many years of clinical and public health experience from her country's national health system then as Assistant Director of PAHO and most recently as Assistant Director-General of the Health Systems and Services cluster at WHO, she's looking forward to this new challenge with fortitude and commitment.

TAPE: This has all provided me an education in how WHO can best work at its three levels to ensure maximum impact for the people which it was established to serve. Throughout my working life, I have seen how important it is for the health systems to evolve to meet contemporary health needs. I was part of the movement which reformed health care in my country. Many other PAHO countries have taken similar steps and have rich experiences to share with others. There is strong political commitment to achieve health goals across the region. Indeed, many nations of the Americas have enshrined the rights to health in their constitutions and many have made significant advances in improving access to health services. They rightly focused not just on preventing and treating health conditions but on the need to address the social and environmental determinants that directly impact on health.

NAR: Dr. Etienne says a willingness to embrace innovation and to aim high helped countries in the Americas eradicate polio, eliminate measles, dramatically increase access to anti-retroviral treatments and to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals at the regional level with the exception of maternal morality.

TAPE: I will continue to work with the member States to develop new and innovative approaches to deliver results with increased efficiency and coherence and to share those appearances with all of WHO. PAHO member States acknowledge that their achievements are not even. Within and between countries, persistent fundamental inequities mean that wide health gaps still exist. As regional director, I will work with countries to address this imbalance and prioritise vulnerable and marginalised populations. I believe that a rights-based approach to health care is critical to ensuring fairness. We will require to broaden our focus, learning to engage and work across sectors with a wide range of partners – both state and non-state. Such an approach will be critical to completing the so-called unfinished agenda notably tackling communicable diseases and improving maternal and child as well as tackling new and emerging challenges and confronting the chronic non-communicable diseases.

NAR: Regional Director of WHO Americas region and Director of the Pan American Health Organization Dr. Carissa Etienne of Dominica.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration:  3’33″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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