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PAHO Director cites actions required to combat impact of COVID-19 pandemic at CAF conference

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Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2020 (PAHO) — The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne, said “Action is required at all levels” from local communities to national levels, and from regional to global levels to combat a triple crisis in the Region: a health crisis, a social crisis and an economic crisis.

“It is only through concerted and collective action that we will address COVID-19, suppress its transmission and recover onto the path of sustainable development,” Etienne told a Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) conference yesterday.

Speaking at a panel on Successes and Failures in the Covid-19 pandemic, which was moderated by University of Miami President Dr. Julio Frenk, the PAHO Director said that the COVID-19 pandemic “has challenged our health systems like we have never seen before, resulting in the deaths of more than 2,500 health workers in 19 countries, devastating economies with Latin America and the Caribbean forecast to experience an estimated 9% GDP reduction, and 45 million more people falling below the poverty line.”

PAHO is working closely with regional institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global organizations like the European Union, the World Bank, UNICEF, International Organization for Migration, and the World Economic Forum to support pandemic response and economic reactivation in the countries of the Americas.

Dr. Etienne reiterated that “Cooperation between multilateral organizations is and will remain critical in health and development, health security and pandemic preparedness. The depth and breadth of capacity within the multilateral system can be synergized through closer collaboration. We are seeing this solidarity and collaboration among the leading global health institutions.

Continued regional and international collaboration will be important “in the post-COVID-19 era, when countries will need to recover the lost gains from COVID-19, and transform their health, social and economic sectors in a manner that will ensure that they are better prepared for such a global event, while responding better to the needs of people to produce more resilient and equitable societies in the future,” she said.