Last week, students of Georgetown’s Global Health Law LLM program attended the 29th Pan American Sanitary Conference (Conference) in Washington, D.C.
The Conference is the supreme governing authority of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization’s regional office for the Americas, and meets every five years to determine its general policies. It also serves as a forum for exchanging information related to preventing disease; preserving, promoting, and restoring mental and physical health; and advancing socio-medical measures and facilities in the Western Hemisphere.
This year’s Conference considered pending resolutions on a range of topics, including tobacco control, implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR), impact of violence on health, cervical cancer control and prevention, disparities in health for LGBT persons, and mental health, among others.
Member States concluded the Conference by unanimously adopting the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas, an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda for fighting diseases and making countries’ health systems universal and sustainable by the year 2030. Taking inspiration from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new agenda commits countries to pursuing 11 goals, as well as 60 targets that will be used to measure progress toward those goals.
During their visit on September 27, the Global Health Law LLM students witnessed Member States re-elect Dr. Carissa F. Etienne for a second five-year term as Director of PAHO. During her acceptance speech, Dr. Etienne stressed her “commitment to deliver to all of our peoples, from all walks of society, a long and productive life, with quality care into our senior years; access to quality health services without fear of impoverishment; access to medicines and vaccines that we can afford, including effective antibiotics; freedom from preventable diseases, with reduced exposure to disease vectors.” A video of Dr.Etienne’s full acceptance speech is available here.
A special thanks to the O’Neill Institute’s partners at PAHO for making this visit possible.