Development Bank of Latin America-CAF and PAHO/WHO join to help countries prepare for disease outbreaks

CAF makes available up to US$300 million and PAHO/WHO provides technical capacity for preparedness and rapid response

Panama City, 11 April 2015 (PAHO/WHO) – The Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America announced joint actions to strengthen the capacity of countries in the Americas to respond to disease outbreaks and epidemics, including Ebola, during the 7th Summit of the Americas, which is being held in Panama City on April 10-11, 2015.

CAF is making available up to US$300 million to support efforts to prepare for Ebola and other potential disease outbreaks. The announcement was made by PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne and CAF Executive President Enrique Garcia, who noted that the impact of diseases such as Ebola can go far beyond the health sector.

CAF Etienne 2PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne and CAF Executive President Enrique Garcia “In our interconnected world, disease outbreaks can have serious economic and social repercussions,” said Etienne. “Countries need to be ready to protect themselves.”

Garcia said the US$300 million “demonstrates CAF’s willingness to keep offering financial alternatives and technical assistance to its member countries to help their governments handle risks, start prevention plans and respond with agility and speed when confronting emergencies."

CAF´s funding, approved by its Board of Directors in late 2014, will be available to support efforts including strengthening epidemic surveillance systems and health services to ensure rapid and effective response to potential disease outbreaks. PAHO/WHO will provide technical support for CAF and for member countries in disease outbreak preparedness efforts, in collaboration with national governments in Latin America and the Caribbean.

PAHO/WHO has undertaken a series of actions to help its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean increase their preparedness to detect, contain and prevent local transmission of any imported cases of Ebola. These are part of larger efforts by PAHO/WHO to help its member countries to prevent and respond to global public health risks that cross borders and threaten populations, within the framework of the International Health Regulations (IHR), an international treaty signed by all WHO Member States.

About PAHO

PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. PAHO is part of the United Nations system, serving as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.

About CAF

CAF is a development bank created in 1970, made up by 19 countries—17 of Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal—as well as 14 private banks in the region. It promotes a sustainable development model through credit operations, non-reimbursable resources, and support in the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of Latin America.