Antigua and Barbuda’s Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph, says he is confident that the new PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa has the experience and technical knowledge to achieve his goal of building a better more equitable universal health.
Dr. Jarbas Barbosa was sworn in today as the new Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), pledging to work in partnership with member states to end the pandemic and ensure that the region’s health systems recover stronger than before.
He will take office on 1 February 2023.
“Today, Dr. Jarbas, you commence the task of continuing the good work of the long line of leaders who have assisted the countries of the Americas over the last 120 years. You now have the opportunity to carve your own path and destiny as you steer us in a post pandemic era with its many ongoing challenges. I have no doubt that your experience, technical knowledge and passion for what public health can offer will allow you to attain your goal to build a better, more equitable world with universal health,” Sir Molwyn said
Dr. Barbosa, a national of Brazil, succeeds Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, of Dominica.
“As I hand over this office and hand the steering wheel over to my esteemed friend and colleague, Jarbas, I am confident that the future of the organization will be in good hands as you will bring to your new role exceptional technical expertise, astute policy-making skills, together with pragmatism and wisdom from your many years of experience gained in your home country of Brazil as well as internationally,” Dr. Etienne said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Barbosa said the world needs strong, resilient health systems that can perform all the Essential Public Health Functions adequately.
“Countries in the Americas face a complex epidemiological landscape, with the stubborn persistence of communicable diseases, the risk of outbreaks and epidemics, the rise of non-communicable diseases, the damage caused by traffic accidents and violence, and the impacts of climate change” he said
To address the “significant inequalities between and within countries” and to ensure post-pandemic recovery and preparedness, Dr. Barbosa’s tenure will focus on five strategic pillars: End the pandemic with the tools countries have at hand, including surveillance and vaccines
Apply the lessons learned from the pandemic to prepare for future health emergencies
Guarantee rapid and equitable access to health innovations for all countries in the region
Build resilient national health systems based on Primary Health Care
Strengthen PAHO’s capacity to help member states.
Dr. Barbosa also said he will work tirelessly to ensure that PAHO maintains all of its many achievements to date, renewing itself every step of the way, always building networks and working as a bridge for understanding, solidarity and innovation.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of universal health to both the public and heads of state like never before, Barbosa said.
“It is urgent that we make use of this attention to strengthen health systems, address persistent issues and shortcomings, and ensure the right to health of all peoples in our Region,” he added.
“One hundred and twenty years ago, our countries proposed an alliance to improve the health of our peoples and face outbreaks and epidemics together,” Dr. Barbosa said.
“The dream of pan-Americanism. The dream that solidarity among the countries of the Americas is a powerful force that can improve the lives of our peoples.”
“We stand here today, 120 years later, encouraged by these very dreams, which remain very much alive and continue to inspire us.”