PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
18 March 1997
REPORT BY THE PAN-AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
His Excellency Edmundo Vargas Carreno
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
I wish to thank the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management created by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), for the letter of 27 February 1997 requesting to report on the progress that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has made in implementing the Miami Summit of the Americas.
Indeed, we appreciate very Much your concern, in the follow up of such critical aspects of the Summit as are the health issues. In that sense, the role of PAHO in supporting the Governments in the implementation of the Plan of Action, includes serving as responsible coordinator for Item 17, Equitable Access to Basic Health Services, and for Item 23. Partnership for Pollution Prevention. PAHO has also developed actions which relate to Item 18, strengthening the Role of Women in Society.
I have attached a summary report of the many actions that PAHO has undertaken, ill collaboration with the Countries of the Region and a number of international agencies to fulfill the mandates of the Summit. A more detailed report will be sent to you as available.
1. The Conference on Health Sector Reform held in September 1995, at PAHO Headquarters, in cooperation with the IDB, World Bank, OAS, ECLAC, UNFPA, UNICEF, USAID, and the Canadian Government, with the presence of the Health Ministers of the Region. The Conference provided a unique opportunity to national authorities and international agencies involved in the reform processes to share their experiences.
2. As a follow up of the Summit PAHO has worked closely with USAID and other partners to design and begin the implementation of a Latin America and Caribbean Initiative on Health Sector Reform (Equitable Access to Health Services, which will translate in a five-year project to support country efforts in this field).
3. Closely related with reform is the work that PAHO has done together with the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, for the strengthening of the Inter American Network of Health Economics and Finance. This network that involves national associations or groups of health economists from a dozen countries, is playing an important role in the dissemination of information and technical expertise in a field that is rather underdeveloped throughout the Region.
4. Also, it is important to mention PAHO's organization and celebration of the Pan American Conference on Health and Environment in Sustainable Human Development, in October 1995, which constituted another step in the continuous effort to promote the environmental health in the Americas.
5. PAHO, together with USAID and the Office of the First Lady of the United States of America and the First Ladies Offices of the Hemisphere, devised an agenda of concrete programs for measles elimination, reduction of maternal mortality, and reduction of violence against women which were launched during the Symposium on the Children of the Americas in December of 1994, reviewed during the Paraguay Meeting of First Ladies in October 1995, and updated in the La Paz meeting, last December. These programs have received the support of USAID and other European donors.
6. Another relevant event where PAHO had an important role, was the Fifth meeting of the SIRG, held in Chile on January 1996, related to the follow up of poverty reduction aspects of the Miami Plan of Action. PAHO organized a Panel to present progress achieved in the implementation of Initiative 17, reporting on countries as well as hemispherical efforts on health issues.
7. At the 8th, SIRG, PAHO's Director, Dr. George Alleyne, made a presentation on the major health issues that should be included in the agenda for the II Summit of the Americas in Chile. He called the initiative "Health Technology Linking the Americas. " This includes specific action in health that contributes to sustainable development. Among those, immunization and vaccine development, health statistics and surveillance, appropriate technology for providing safe water and telemedicine. All of these lend themselves, for a truly Panamerican effort.
8. At the same time, PAHO maintains programs aimed at understanding health as an essential objective and key indicator of human development. at developing greater equity, quality and efficient health systems and services, at combating diseases, at promoting healthy lifestyles, and addressing environmental issues through programs that lead to safe-drinking water and adequate sanitation.
9. In addition to the regional efforts described above, there is still a need for designing a better and more systematic methodology for collecting, assessing, and reporting on the different levels of accomplishments reached by every country for each of the established goals. PAHO has already asked its Country Representatives, to support the countries in preparing a report on the progress reached in Items 17 and 23 of the Plan of Action of the Summit and, we are in the process of collecting and analyzing that information, which we will provide as available.
10. PAHO is devoted to continue doing the follow up of the Summit to generate adequate indicators to measure the progress reached in each area and to facilitate the interagency coordination along with improving the communications with and among Governments. Therefore, a more detailed report on the Items 17 and 23 of the Summit of the Americas, including country details will be sent to you in the near future.