Haitian seeking to replace Etienne as PAHO director
ETIENNE... outgoing PAHO director

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (CMC) — The election of a new director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will be among the highlights of PAHO's 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference that got underway here on Monday.

Ministers of health and other high-level representatives from countries and territories of the Americas will meet September 26-30, with the election of a new director to replace Dominica's Dr Carissa Etienne taking place on Wednesday.

Haiti has named Dr Florence Duperval Guillaume, a former acting prime minister and former minister of public health and population, for the position. She is among six candidates, with the others coming from Brazil, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, and Uruguay.

PAHO said the detailed curriculum vitae presented by each candidate and letters of nomination have been sent to PAHO member states, participating states, as well as associate members.

"The conference will elect the director from among the nominated candidates by secret ballot. The candidate who receives the majority of votes from member states will be elected," it said, adding that in accordance with PAHO's Constitution, the director will serve a five-year term and may be re-elected once. The elected person will take office on February 1, 2023, and complete his or her term on January 31, 2028.

PAHO is the specialised health agency of the Inter-American System and serves as the World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for the Americas. This year PAHO marks its 120th anniversary of active work in promoting health and well-being throughout the region.

Dr Etienne had been elected for a second term as the PAHO director in 2017, during the 29th Pan American Sanitary Conference. She began her second five-year term on February 1, 2018.

PAHO said that its Pan American Sanitary Conference is the organisation's highest decision-making body, meeting every five years to determine general policies of the organisation so as to improve the health and well-being of the population in the region.

Dominica's President Charles Savarin will be among speakers on the opening day, as well as Dr Etienne.

During the week-long conference a number of reports will be presented and discussed, according to PAHO, including the 'Strategy and Plan of Action on Psychoactive Substance Use and Public Health' and the 'Plan of Action to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol'.

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