GENEVA Switzerland (CMC) – Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are to benefit from a new plan approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for new health emergency programmes, globally.
Caribbean health ministers were among delegates at the WHO meeting here and according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the programme adds operational capabilities for outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies that are complemented by the traditional technical and normative roles of the organization.
“The new programme is designed to deliver rapid, predictable and comprehensive support to countries and communities as they prepare for, face, or recover from emergencies caused by any type of hazard to the human health, whether disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters or conflicts,” PAHO said.
The objective is to combine management of responses to natural disasters, humanitarian disasters, and complex epidemic outbreaks, PAHO said.
It said in order to fulfil these new responsibilities, delegates agreed on a US$494 million budget for the programme for 2016-2017.
This is an increase of US$160 million in the existing programme budget for WHO’s work in emergencies, PAHO said, noting that the delegates welcomed the progress that WHO has made in developing the new Health Emergencies Programme, particularly noting the new implementation plan and timeline, as well as the establishment of an Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee.
In this regard, delegates urged ongoing collaboration with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Matters “so as to align the management of disease outbreaks and other emergencies with the mechanisms and capabilities of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee,” PAHO said.
It said delegates also requested the WHO Director-General to submit a report to the 70th World Health Assembly, to be held next year, on progress made toward the establishment and operationalization of the program.
In a joint statement, the delegates of the countries of the Americas, including the Caribbean, expressed their approval for the progress achieved in this matter and their support for the new WHO Health Emergencies Programme.