Brasília, November 8, 2023 – The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Jarbas Barbosa, participated on Tuesday (7/11), in Brasília, Brazil, in a Public Hearing in the Chamber of Deputies on the risks of disease outbreaks in the Americas. The activity was promoted by the Chamber’s Health Committee.
During the event, the director of PAHO highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic was a powerful demonstration that human health is not something isolated and, therefore, efforts to protect and promote health must be collective. “This is the time to implement the lessons learned from the pandemic and, with this, ensure we are better prepared for future events.”
The director also said that PAHO is making great efforts to ensure that countries in the region participate in the global debate on improving response mechanisms to the pandemic.
“Our region held numerous meetings inviting the Ministries of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representations in Washington and Geneva, so that countries can have all the information and make their decisions, next year, when we will have the World Assembly of I welcome the approval of the new International Health Regulations”, he highlighted.
The International Health Regulations are a binding instrument worldwide to ensure transparency, risk assessment, response and country capacity. According to Jarbas Barbosa, the World Health Assembly must also approve an agreement to respond, among other issues, to the need for equitable access to medicines, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and vaccines, in the event of another pandemic.
“Because that didn’t happen this time and, if we don’t implement lessons in this sense, we will certainly be so ill-prepared for the next [pandemia] how we were in this. We had countries struggling to have access to masks, gloves, medicines and vaccines,” she signaled.
During the hearing, the director also drew attention to immunization as a fundamental strategy at this time because strategies are needed to recover vaccination coverage, with intersectorality, combating misinformation and political commitment.
To guarantee this effectiveness, Jarbas Barbosa listed three main aspects, the way in which vaccination is being communicated to people, in order to establish relationships of trust; training health professionals on vaccine production, effects and importance of vaccination, so that they can multiplier these messages; and the elimination of “invisible barriers” that prevent people from getting vaccinated, such as difficult access and travel.
The Public Hearing, proposed by deputy Iza Arruda, was also attended by federal deputy Jorge Solla, the president of the National Council of Health Secretaries (CONASS), Fábio Bacheretti, and the executive secretary of CONASS, Jurandi Frutuoso.