Issue No. 01 [2009]
PAHO, Catalyst for Health in the Americas. Health: Our Most Basic Asset.
January 8, 2009

Alcohol and Domestic Violence

Alcohol y Violencia Doméstica
Director's Blog article.
Washington, DC. January 2, 2009.

“Unhappy Hours: Alcohol and Partner Aggression in the Americas” [PAHO's Publication]

Addressing in an effective manner domestic violence that affects women, children and even men is a priority of PAHO’s technical cooperation with our Member States. Now, extensive research conducted on 10 countries of our Region has proved that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of intimate partner violence.

The investigation was carried out in Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belize, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States as part of the GENACIS project (Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study).

Given the study’s importance for understanding the problem better and finding more effective interventions to “right” this wrong, PAHO published its results in a book: "Unhappy Hours: Alcohol and partner aggression in the Americas". The book is a collaborative effort and was edited by Dr. Kathryn Graham from Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH); Sharon Bernards also from CAMH; Myriam Munné from the Research Institute of the University of Buenos Aires; and Sharon Wilsnack from the University of North Dakota, USA. Should you be interested in acquiring this publication, please check PAHO Publishing at:

Alcohol by itself is one of the leading risk factors for the burden of disease in the Americas - in 2002 alone, it was responsible for more than 323,000 deaths and more than 14 million years of healthy life lost to premature death and disability. Such impact by itself calls for improving public policies to curtail its heavy consumption, but the results of the study about its relation to increased domestic violence strengthens the case for adopting effective measures in this regard.

The book also addresses policies that can have an impact on the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence, such as price/taxation, regulating marketing and the hours and points of sale; as well as empirical evidence showing such measures work. In short, it is a very valuable publication for policymakers and all people interested on tackling the domestic violence problem. Detailed information about the book can be found at: PAHO Book Establishes New Links between Excessive Alcohol and Partner Violence [PAHO Press Release]

-Post your comments on the Blog »
-Alcohol y Violencia Doméstica. Blog »


Working to Control and Eliminate Neglected Diseases

Trabajando para controlar y eliminar las enfermedades desatendidas
Director's Blog article.
Washington, DC. December 30, 2008.

Trust Fund for the Prevention, Control and Elimination of Neglected and Other Infectious Diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the Inaugural Address of my second term as PAHO’s Director at the beginning of 2008, I called for daring to have what I dubbed “achievable dreams” by aspiring “to eliminate those health conditions or diseases that still afflict our peoples despite the fact that we possess the knowledge and the tools with which to make them virtually disappear” (see : Inaugural Address).

But being an “achievable dream” does not mean that it will happen somehow magically. A lot of hard work, scientific knowledge, cooperation among institutions and countries, careful planning and implementation, and certainly economic resources must come into play for the dream to be achieved.

That makes all the more significant the joint meeting we hosted at PAHO headquarters on 15-16 December, 2008, and cosponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, to discuss details related to the creation of a Trust Fund for the Prevention, Control and Elimination of Neglected and Other Infectious Diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean. Experts from six countries and partner agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alliance for Rabies Control, and others, gathered to devise a common strategy against neglected diseases in the Americas.

Fighting those so-called “neglected diseases” would have a large beneficial impact over public health and the improvement of living standards in the Americas, since they still affect more than 200 million people in the Region. Moreover, given that said diseases mostly affect poor people, as I stated in a previous blog about this matter (Human rights and neglected diseases), any gains on this realm would also represent a significant improvement in the fight against poverty and inequality.

Establishing the aforementioned Trust Fund for the control and elimination of neglected diseases in the Region would be a huge step towards making true this achievable dream but it must be complemented by a number of actions, as warned by the experts in the meeting. We will keep working on that challenge, and I will keep you posted about our progress. Meanwhile, let me invite you to read the brief information about the main elements pointed out in the meeting which can be found at: PAHO, IDB and Sabin refine fight against neglected diseases in Latin America and Caribbean [PAHO Press Release]

-Post your comments on the Blog »
-Trabajando para controlar y eliminar las enfermedades desatendidas. Blog »

Health services close to collapse in Gaza

Geneva, Switzerland.
7 January 2009

The health services in Gaza, already depleted and fragile, will collapse if steps to support and protect them are not taken immediately. WHO has called for immediate improvement in the situation to make humanitarian health services accessible by the local people.

-WHO statement on health situation in Gaza
-Les services de santé de Gaza au bord de l'effondrement

-Health situation reports in Gaza
-WHO Office for the West Bank & Gaza

WHO Executive Board
Geneva, Switzerland.
19-27 January 2009.

KEY ISSUES: Technical and Health matters

- Pandemic influenza preparedness: sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits;
- Implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005);
- HIV/AIDS and Mental Health;
- Prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment;
- Primary health care, including health system strengthening;
- Commission on Social Determinants of Health;
- Monitoring of the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals
- Climate change and health
- WHO’s role and responsibilities in health research
- International recruitment of health personnel: draft global code of practice
- Counterfeit medical products
- Human organ and tissue transplantation
- Public health, innovation and intellectual property: global strategy and plan of action
- Chagas disease: control and elimination
- Capacity-building to constructively engage the private sector in providing essential health care services


HQ Office

Pan American Health Organization

Pan American Sanitary Bureau
Regional Office of the
World Health Organization

525 23rd Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 1 (202)974-3000
Fax: 1 (202) 974-3663

Country Offices

Copyright © 2008 - Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago
Director's CORNER  |  Official Travel  |  BLOG  |  PAHO Website  |  PAHEF Website  |  WHO Website