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Jamaica welcomes new PAHO Director Loop Jamaica

Jamaica has welcomed the newly elected Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr Barbosa da Silva Jr, a national of Brazil.

“Jamaica takes the opportunity to express our deepest congratulations to Dr Barbosa da Silva Jr on his election to this high office,” said Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, speaking during the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference where Barbosa was elected on Wednesday by PAHO member states.

“Jamaica stands ready to give full support to Dr. Barbosa da Silva Jr. We appreciate the need for strong leadership at the level of the Region of the Americans coming on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and with so many other health threats that currently exist. We appreciate that the transition, given his experience at the highest level of PAHO, will be quick and we would like to encourage that,” he added.

“We congratulate you and look forward to working with you; and we believe, given your experience, that PAHO will grow from strength to strength,” he said further.

Dr Barbosa da Silva Jr will begin his five-year term on 1 February 2023, succeeding Dr. Carissa F. Etienne of Dominica, who has led PAHO since 2012.

Dr Barbosa da Silva Jr is currently the Assistant Director at PAHO where he has led the Organization’s efforts to increase equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and to enhance regional capacities to produce medicines and other health technologies.

The Minister also took the time to recognise outgoing director, Dr Carissa Etienne.

“I want to also, on behalf of the people of Jamaica, thank wholeheartedly our outgoing head of PAHO, Dr. Carissa Etienne, a Caribbean national who we are very proud of, who did a sterling job in representing the people of the Americas for the last 10 years. Thank you Dr. Etienne,” Dr. Tufton said.

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Meanwhile, he noted that PAHO’s support to Jamaica and to the other member states of the Region of the Americas had been invaluable.

“We would also like to place on record the support over the years that PAHO has given to the people of the Americas where, because of size, we oftentimes lack the capacity to respond as adequately as we would like to public health threats. And, therefore, our reliance on PAHO remains very strong,” he noted.

PAHO is the health organisation for the region of the Americas and serves as the regional office for the World Health Organisation (WHO). The election of Dr. Barbosa da Silva Jr. will be transmitted to the Executive Board of the WHO for appointment as WHO Regional Director.