The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Thursday announced candidates from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, and Uruguay were vying to succeed Dominica's Carissa Etienne of Dominica as agency head.
The next director will be chosen by secret ballot during the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference, to be held September 26-30. The winning candidate will be appointed for a five-year term and may be re-elected once. He or she will take office Feb. 1, 2023, when Etienne will have served two consecutive terms, during which she had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The candidates are Panama's Camilo Alleyne, Brazil's Jarbas Barbosa Da Silva Jr., Haiti's Florence Duperval Guillaume, Mexico's Nadine Flora Gasman Zylbermann, Colombia's Fernando Ruiz Gómez and Uruguay's Daniel Salinas, PAHO's executive committee said in a statement.
Salinas' name was proposed by the Uruguayan government. If elected, he will have to leave Montevideo and move to Washington D.C.
I have faith. Otherwise, I would not have thrown myself into the water, Salinas said in a radio interview last month when he was participating in the 75th World Health Assembly at the World Health Organization in Geneva, during which the Uruguayan physician met with WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia.
Working meeting with the re-elected WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Interrelationship PAHO WHO, new global, regional health challenges and national perspective, the Uruguayan official posted on his Twitter account.
Tedros, who was re-elected at the assembly as head of WHO for the next five years, replied: ”Thank you very much Daniel Salinas for a very good meeting. We agreed to strengthen our collaboration on pandemic preparedness, including surveillance, information and data sharing; mental health and #BeatNCDs (WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases) - especially cancer.
Salinas assured that prior to campaigning for the PAHO post he made a thorough diagnosis and that so far he has had receptivity” from other health ministers in the region.
The name proposed by Brazil is that of Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr. from Pernambuco, who holds a PhD in public health from the University of Campinas (Unicamp) and is the current assistant director of the organization. Before taking up the post at the PAHO, the sanitarian physician was the director-president of Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) between 2015 and 2018.
PAHO turns 120 years old this year. It was founded in 1902 as the International Sanitary Bureau to address the spread of infectious diseases at a time of rapid expansion of shipping. It was renamed the Pan American Sanitary Bureau in 1923, and then the Pan American Health Organization in 1958. PAHO is both the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System.