Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, listens while Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr. Mirta Roses, makes a point during the meeting. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Barbados is set to make history later this year when it becomes the first Caribbean country to chair the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This was revealed recently by Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr. Mirta Roses, during talks with Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, at his Ministry’s Culloden Road headquarters.

Noting that the appointment would take place in May, the Director added: "This is coming at a very historic time for the WHO because we are undergoing a very important reform of the work and programming of the organisation and the way the Member States and the secretariat relate in order to face [current world challenges]."

Mr. Inniss expressed his pleasure that this country had been selected to chair the Executive Board of the WHO, and pledged his Government’s commitment to supporting its initiatives.

He also spoke to the excellent relationship that Barbados has with PAHO, noting that the organisation had been a strong supporter of this country on regional and international health matters.??

"All of us in the Caribbean and, particularly, in Barbados can point to the benefits of that relationship…we have certainly seen a strengthening of the health system in Barbados through their initiatives. We have been able to build capacity by the opportunities afforded to our staff in the Ministry of Health who were exposed to training …[and were assisted by] direct programmes in many areas including chronic non-communicable diseases, adolescent health and general primary care health matters," he said.

Discussions also touched on the impact of climate change on the health sector, as well as the need for reforms in health care to address the challenges caused by an increase in chronic diseases and an ageing population.

The WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations (UN) system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.??

PAHO serves as the specialised organisation for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the WHO, and is recognised as part of the UN system.


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