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OAS, PAHO, and Trinidad and Tobago Organize Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases

  September 22, 2014

The Organization of American States (OAS) will host, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, a high level meeting in Washington, DC on September 30, titled “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) In the Americas: Awareness, Access, Action.”

The OAS event will discuss policy and practical mechanisms to raise awareness and address the prevalence of NCDs in the Americas. The half-day meeting at OAS headquarters will take place on the sidelines of the week-long PAHO Directing Council Meetings, and will bring together stakeholders from the healthcare industry, educators, medical groups, representatives of OAS member states and other groups. PAHO Director Carissa Etienne will address a special private breakfast gathering for Health Ministers, ahead of the official start of the meeting.

Addressing the prevalence of NCDs in the Americas, the PAHO Director pointed out that, "The greatest burden of NCDs is falling on the poor and most vulnerable people in our societies, and the societal inequities associated with NCDs are worsened by the high out-of-pocket expenses that lead to catastrophic health expenditures.” Director Etienne added that, “universal health coverage is a critical part of the solution to the NCD problem." Highlighting the obesity problem in the region, the PAHO leader noted that during PAHO’s own Directing Council meeting this year, Ministers of Health from across the Americas will consider the Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents. “When implemented, it can contribute to the overall goal of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025,” stated Director Etienne.

According to OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, “The OAS and PAHO have worked together on several issues to raise awareness and provide access and information to member states on health related challenges. The OAS meeting will be a demonstration of our partnership, and commitment to this issue, at a wider political and social level. We acknowledge that tackling NCDs requires a multi-pronged approach and discussions among all stakeholder groups are crucial if we are to achieve sustainable results.”

Co-Chairing the “NCDs In the Americas: Awareness, Access, Action” event at the OAS is the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the OAS, Ambassador Neil Parsan, emphasized that, “NCDs are no longer silent killers. NCDs threaten development, undermine progress and they are becoming a front burner issue not just for Trinidad and Tobago, but for the vast majority of countries and economies. We believe we must use all avenues and resources at our disposal to address this issue.”

Representatives of the private sector are among those working with the OAS on the “NCDs In the Americas: Awareness, Access, Action” event. According to Assistant Secretary General Ramdin, “No organization can work in isolation. It is a responsibility for all of us.” In this context, the OAS meeting will take place with the support of Medtronic and Medtronic Philanthropy as Event Partners, and GE as an Event Supporter.

To register for the event, and to find more information please go to

WHAT: Meeting on “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) In the Americas: Awareness, Access, Action”

WHEN: September 30, 2014

WHERE: Hall of the Americas
Organization of American States
17th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Reference: E-391/14