PAHEF Celebrates World Health Day
world-health-day-2On April 7, PAHEF participated in the Pan American Health Organization’s celebration of World Health Day in Washington, DC. The 2011 theme was “Combat Drug Resistance: No action today, No cure tomorrow,” which highlighted the world-wide problem of antimicrobial resistance to medications.

Regarding the theme, Edward L. Kadunc, president of PAHEF, remarked, “Drug-resistance claims patients’ lives and places an immense burden on health care systems. As part of PAHEF’s commitment to improving health and health education in the Americas, we fully support efforts to raise awareness of and find solutions to this serious medical issue.”

Dr. Luis Jauregui, PAHEF board member from 2002 – 2008, who also championed PAHEF’s infection control initiatives, commented on the presentation  by Dr. Orlando Urroz of Costa Rica entitled, “Prevention of AMR Dissemination in Health Care Settings.” Dr. Jauregui, a national of Bolivia, explained how health care acquired infections (HCAIs) have created severe health problems in his homeland.  In 2004, health care-acquired infections, caused partially by multi-drug resistant bacteria, caused the deaths of 12 newborns during a week at a single hospital. Two grants from PAHEF and from the The People of Taiwan Fund made it possible for the Ministry of Health of Bolivia to identify why patients were becoming ill and implement a plan of action to prevent future infections (read about the project in Bolivia and another infection control project in Argentina).

Other speakers included participants from ministries of health from throughout Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

About World Health Day
The World Health Day is a World Health Organization initiative to call governments to action to address pressing health issues. Each year focuses on a different theme, and past themes have addressed a range of topics including, urbanization in health, making hospitals safe in emergencies, and protecting health from climate change.
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A Sample of Recent PAHEF Projects in the Region