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Caribbean Health And Development Commission Launched

Washington, DC, September 22, 2003 (PAHO)—The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) announced Monday the creation of a new regional commission to boost investment in health programs.

"Once again, the Caribbean countries' community sets the example" on how to improve the health of the people of the region, said PAHO director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago.

"This first step is an example to be followed" by other regions of the Americas, she told a ceremony held as part of a PAHO health ministers conference in Washington, D.C., this week.

"This commission is long overdue," noted Edward Green, assistant secretary general of CARICOM.

Former PAHO director Sir George A.O. Alleyne, who will head the new Caribbean Commission on Health and Development, said it offers "a unique opportunity for us" in the Caribbean. Sir George said the new commission must:

  • Convince not only the skeptics, but also make the region's leaders "converts to the cause of health."
  • Be adequately funded in order to be successful.
  • Produce credible recommendations and options in order to the feasible.
  • Have the enthusiastic support of the health ministers of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Commission on Health and Development's responsibility will be to provide guidelines for action to increase investment in health in the countries of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Sir George Alleyne, of Barbados, will chair the new commission—patterned after the World Health Organization's Commission on Macro Economics and Health—for a period of 18 months. Sir George is a former PAHO director and PAHO's Director Emeritus.

The commission's goal is to give substance to the Nassau Declaration (2001) that the health of the Americas is the wealth of the region and respond to the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals in which health and development are priorities.

PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world's oldest public health organization. PAHO works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and the quality of life of its people. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

For more information, video material, or photographs please contact: Juan Walte, Area of Public Information, (202) 974-3172, e-mail: waltejua@paho.org.


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