Sint Maarten represented at PAHO Regional Meeting of Health Disaster Coordinators of Latin America and the Caribbean  

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Head of the Collective Preventive Service (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, Dr. Virginia Asin, attended the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Regional Meeting of Health Disaster Coordinators of Latin America and the Caribbean in Managua, Nicaragua.

The PAHO Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, organized the meeting that took place mid-October under the theme: “A Resilient Health Sector: Learning from the past, shaping the future.”

According to Dr. Asin, the regional meeting facilitated disaster coordinators to collectively analyze recent progress; the review of lessons learned and the definition of priority actions that will needed to address present and future challenges and that will forge an increasingly resilient health sector.

Various major initiatives in disaster risk management are currently emerging globally, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 adopted in March 2015; the Agenda for Sustainable Development which will take effect in January 2016; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December; the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in May 2016; and the reform of the World Health Organization (WHO) to outbreaks and emergencies.

“All of the above are of great importance to the countries in the Americas including Sint Maarten with respect to their health sectors, and therefore will require the development of strategies and practical tools and mechanisms for their implementation,” CPS Department Head Dr. Virginia Asin explained on Monday.

The Health Disaster Coordinators meeting, which included active participation of the coordinators of the Ministries of Health of the Region together with PAHO/WHO Disaster Focal Points, has provided an important forum for the prioritization and integration of actions to strengthen the Region and its health sector in the area of disaster risk reduction.

The conclusion of the meetings have highlighted a number of priorities and recommendations: to establish essential guidelines for the development of the Plan of Action 2016-2021, a Resilient Health Sector.

Some of the specific objectives of the meeting were: to analyse elements of binding force and challenges of the health sector in the international instruments recently-adopted and in discussion; to present and discuss experiences related to the implementation of Plan of Action on Safe Hospitals 2010-2015, and the Smart Hospitals Strategy.

Two other important points discussed was to conduct a practical analysis of the Plan of Action for Humanitarian Assistance to clarify operational elements of implementation; and to analyse the current situation, forecast, health impacts and measures related to El Nino.

The meeting took place at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Sint Maarten’s Representative Dr. Virginia Asin stood with representatives from the Ministries of Public Health from the Americas.