Issue No. 15 [2008]
PAHO, Catalyst for Health in the Americas. Health: Our Most Basic Asset.
June 25, 2008

"Safe Surgery Saves Lives Initiative"
2nd WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge launched at PAHO

Washington, D.C.
June 25, 2008.

Dr. Mirta Roses, Director of PAHO, WHO Regional Office for the Americas, delivered the welcoming remarks -
"Safe Surgery Saves Lives: a Pan-American Perspective" - at the launching of the World Health Organization (WHO) new global initiative "Safe Surgery Saves Lives," that aimed at improving the safety of surgery in countries around the world.

The event had the participation of Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer of the U.K. and Chair of the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety; Dr. Atul Gawande, leader of the "Safe Surgery Saves Lives" initiative. Also associate director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and associate professor at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health; and Ms. Susan Sheridan, leader of the "Patients for Patient Safety" program of the World Alliance for Patient Safety and cofounder of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety.

"Preventable surgical injuries and deaths are a growing concern," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, who addressed the audience after the presentation of Endorsements. "Using the checklist is the best way to reduce surgical errors and improve patient safety."

Medical Professionals Worldwide Endorse WHO Checklist for Safer Surgery / Profesionales médicos de todo el mundo aprueban la lista de verificación de la OMS para reducir los riesgos de la cirugía
At the end of the launching ceremony at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, D.C a new safety checklist for surgical procedures developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) won the endorsements of nearly 250 health organizations from over 40 countries.

Ceremony - Safe Surgery Save Lives Initiative

-Safe Surgery Saves Lives - Brochure [pdf 1.42Mb]

WHO Releases »
-New checklist to help make surgery safer
-La OMS idea un nuevo instrumento para mejora la seguridad de las intervenciones quirúrgicas

PAHO Releases »
-Medical Professionals Worldwide Endorse WHO Checklist for Safer Surgery
-Dr. Roses' welcoming remarks at the launching
[PAHO Director's Office Release]
-PAHO Launches "Safe Surgery Saves Lives" - 2nd WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge [PAHO Media Advisory]

WHO Website »

-Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative
-10 facts on safe surgery
-Surgical Safety Checklist

Media Publication »
-WHO launches safety checklist for surgeons [AFP]
-Safety checklist for ops launched [BBC]
-WHO Issues a Checklist to Make Operations Safer
[The New York Times]
-Global surgery—defining a research agenda
[The Lancet]


142nd Session of the Executive Committee Opens with Important Goals for the Health of the Peoples of the Americas
Washington, D.C.
June 23-27, 2008.

The 142nd Session of the Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization is meeting this week at headquarters. During this period, the Executive Committee is comprised of the countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America and Uruguay. In this occasion Antigua and Barbuda is chairing this 142nd Session. Other Member States attending the meeting as observers are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Paraguay and Venezuela.

More than 20 important health projects for the Region in which PAHO plays a leadership role along with the Countries' Ministries of Health to improve public health within the people of the Americas under discussion are:
Diabetes and Obesity; Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control; Young Child Malnutrition and the MDGs; Neonatal and Maternal Health; Adolescent and Youth Health; Health of Older Persons; Health Statistics; Malaria, Dengue, Onchocerciasis; Avian Flu; Blood Transfusion Safety; International Health Regulations; Essential Public Health Functions; Convention on Tobacco Control; Vector-Borne Disease; and Climate Change among others.
Read more »


Presentación de la Directora ante el Consejo Permanente de la OEA
Director's Presentation to the OAS Permanent Council
Washington, D.C.
June 19, 2008.

La Dra. Mirta Roses Periago, Directora de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) ofreció la tradicional presentación ante el Consejo Permanente de Embajadores de la OEA, sesión informativa que resume la gestión de la OPS en el último año como antesala de la 142a. Sesión del Comité Ejecutivo de la Organización que se reúne en la semana del 23-27 de junio en la oficina central de la OPS; este evento es una tradición en el fortalecimiento de la relación entre la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) y la Oficina Sanitaria Panamericana como agencia especializada en salud del organismo del regional.

Presentación ». Sesión Informativa a Embajadores Permanentes ante la Organización de Estados Americanos y otros embajadores de Estados Miembros.

Presentation ». Briefing Session to the Permanent Ambassadors to the Organization of American States and others Estate Member’s Ambassadors.

2008 PAHO Staff Awards Ceremony
Theme: "Renewing our Commitment"

Washington, D.C.
June 20, 2008.

The 2008 PAHO Staff Awards Ceremony took place at the headquarter's office last week, under the theme: Renewing our commitment"

The ceremony honor our colleagues who: will be retiring this year; have completed 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service in the Organization; have successful completed educational programs; have achieved superior performance in the UN Language Proficiency Examination; and have been selected to receive one of the following special awards: Director's Awards, Outstanding Manager Award, Outstanding Team Award, Exceptional Leadership Award, Sustained Exceptional Performance, Personal Promotion Award, and Outstanding Support Staff Award.

Awards Ceremony Video »


Director of PAHO received the Helen Rodriquez-Trias Award for Excellence in Community-Based Women’s Health Leadership.
Washington, D.C.
May 2008.

Dr. Roses received the Annual Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award for Excellence in Community-Based Women’s Health Leadership from The National Hispanic Medical Association for her distinguished history of leadership in the area of women’s health and well-being.

The Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award was established by the California Department of Health Services’, Office of Women’s Health in 2002 to honor the memory of Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias, a founding member of the office’s Women’s Health Council. Dr. Rodriguez-Trias left a substantial legacy of grassroots activism and leadership in women’s health.
Read more about Helen Rodriguez-Trias ». [PDF]



WHO Director-General's quest to revitalise ALMA-ATA gets unqualified and unprecedent support from WHO Regional Directors

Read more » [.PDF]



The six WHO's Regional Directors wrote in to express their support following a Lancet Editorial on May 31 which, while welcoming Chan's drive on the issue, asked whether the six regional directors had given it their full backing.

The directors say: "Dr Chan's commitment to primary health care is in itself an expression of the unequivocal support from the six regional directors and of the unanimity of views among the senior management of the organisation with regard to primary health care. Despite the wide variation across and within regions with respect to health challenges and the responses required to address these, there is mutual agreement that primary health care will continue to be central to WHO's strategy to strengthen health systems towards the vision of 'Health for All'."



Unequivocal Regional Support for Margaret Chan's Commitment to Primary Health Care



In addition, the Director-General and the Regional Directors agreed in early 2008 to present a common document on primary health care as the basis for a substantive discussion during the upcoming Regional Committees. The outcome of these discussions will greatly contribute to the process of renewal of primary health care in the subsequent meetings of the Executive Board of WHO and during the World Health Assembly in 2009.

Learning from the post-Alma-Ata experience, WHO's commitment to Health for All and primary health care strategyhas to be long-term and unwavering over the coming decades. And although a decade from now there will be a different Director-General and Regional Directors, the onus is on the current leadership of WHO, under the guidance of the 193 Member States, to ensure that primary health care does not remain an approach driven by motivated individuals but is enmeshed in the fibre that binds the organisation's strategic objectives together and to its three levels.

Read more » [.PDF]


Alma-Ata Declaration
Declaración de Alma-Ata














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