With support of the Government of the United States of America and the Organization of American States (OAS), the Government of Peru convened senior government officials from OAS member states, international organizations, and subject matter experts Apr. 29-30 to a conference to coordinate actions to alleviate the plight of displaced populations, and the impacts of these populations on the communities that host them. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II led the U.S. delegation.
The dramatic forced displacement of Venezuelans over the past few years and the collapse of Venezuela’s health infrastructure have burdened healthcare systems in neighboring countries. This regional conference provided a forum for countries receiving displaced populations to continue earlier high-level conversations held in Washington, D.C., in November 2018 to coordinate efforts to harmonize healthcare practices throughout the region.
Secretary Azar noted, “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been providing extensive training and technical assistance to address these public health needs across the region. We are working closely with the Pan American Health Organization and a number of ministries of health to strengthen epidemiological surveillance, vaccine work, laboratory capacity, and public health preparedness.” U.S. government funding in response to the Venezuela regional crisis now totals more than $256 million in humanitarian response and economic and development assistance.
The conference consisted of a strategic planning session for subject matter experts and decision makers to outline action recommendations on critical areas, as well as discussions and planning by ministers of health and other high-level authorities in these critical areas:
- Essential health needs of women, mothers, and children;
- Management and control of vaccine-preventable diseases, and malaria and other vector borne diseases;
- Supporting the most vulnerable populations on the management and control of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS;
- Design of regional critical training programs for field healthcare staff and cross-border credentialing of healthcare practitioners;
- Chronic non-communicable diseases and mental health.