Antigua Observer:-The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has called on Caribbean countries to take action and make the necessary investments to make their health systems stronger and more resilient.
“Preparedness requires more than emergency plans and simulation exercises,” said PAHO director Dominican Dr Carissa F Etienne in addressing the 4th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research here.
“It means strengthening core aspects of health systems, from human resources and access to medicines, to health information systems and even legal measures to support public health action.”
Etienne’s remarks were made before an audience of more than 2,000 experts at the symposium that was co-sponsored by Health Systems Global, PAHO, the World Health Organization, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, the Canadian Society for International Health, Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Investing in health systems resilience is “considerably more cost-effective” than financing emergency response and is likely to better protect people’s health and wellbeing in both emergencies and normal times, said Etienne.
“Fragile health systems increase the vulnerability of populations to external risks that impact health and well-being, health protection, and ultimately social and economic development,” she said.
“Again and again we see this, through epidemics of H1N1 influenza, Chikungunya and Zika virus; through earthquakes in Chile and Ecuador; hurricanes in Haiti and the Bahamas; and through the effects of climate change on health.”