Health leaders who plan to attend the 54th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have put in place plans and methods to increase immunization rates, reduce deaths and illness from hepatitis, step up the fight against tuberculosis (TB) and update public health laws in the Americas.
One plan is to make sure the benefits of immunizations are available to all citizens of the Americas by 2020. The ultimate goal of this plan it to eradicate smallpox, polio and rubella.
Additionally, plans are to continually educate and support the thousands of public health workers who administer immunizations.
PAHO representatives from across the Americas lauded PAHO's Revolving Fund for Vaccine Procurement, the aim of which is to provide continual access to quality vaccines and vaccine supply at a reasonable cost; those representatives expressed support for strengthening the fund in the future.
The representatives also agreed that they were committed to the prevention and control of viral hepatitis infection, particularly hepatitis B and C. A new regional plan by PAHO representatives highlights plans to significantly decrease illness, disabilities and deaths from hepatitis and will serve as a gateway for eliminating hepatitis B and C in the Americas by 2030.
The health ministers also plan to put in place programs that will reduce the death rate from tuberculosis by at least 24 percent by 2019 by increasing patient-centered care, advancing research on TB prevention and control, mobilizing new funding for anti-TB efforts and making sure there is engagement in these efforts at the community level and across different sectors.
Also, the health ministers will talk about strengthening law and regulations regarding public health programs and initiatives. To that end, PAHO will provide technical advice to countries about how to use their legislative and regulatory powers effectively to assure their health-related laws and regulations are in line with international standards.
Other major topics the health ministers are discussing include antimicrobial resistance, rising rates of dementia among the elderly and reducing violence against women.