27 May 2024 | Press releases

PAHO and Unitaid strengthen partnership to eliminate communicable diseases from the Americas

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and global health initiative Unitaid signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to intensify collaboration to end 30 preventable communicable diseases in the region by 2030, such as cervical cancer, HIV and Chagas disease.

The agreement, signed on the margins of the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, include the mobilization of partners and resources to scale up access to global health innovations and affordable and quality-assured health commodities, as well as to support the local manufacturing of health technologies, among others.

“PAHO welcomes this collaboration with Unitaid to ensure that all populations in the Americas benefit from latest advances in health, such as rapid diagnostic tests and easy to administer therapeutics,” PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa said. “This agreement will also support us in ending preventable and treatable diseases in the region.”

The focus of the cooperation will be on diseases that are part of PAHO’s Elimination Initiative, including cervical cancer, Chagas disease, hepatitis B and C, HIV, malaria and other vector borne diseases, syphilis and tuberculosis, with a special focus on health conditions that particularly affect women and children.

The PAHO Elimination Initiative aims to end over 30 communicable diseases by 2030, building on past achievements in the Americas to eliminate polio, measles and rubella, among others, and focusing on several conditions that disproportionally impact vulnerable and remote populations.

“With today’s technology and resources we can end preventable communicable diseases, especially for vulnerable communities in Latin America,” said Unitaid Executive Director Philippe Duneton. “It’s about expanding access to proven technologies, supporting local manufacturing, and ensuring access to new innovations from the start. This partnership marks a significant step forward in reaching these goals.”

The agreement signed today follows previous cooperation between the two parties. Since 2020, PAHO and Unitaid have collaborated to support health innovations in the region, and in 2022 signed an agreement to tackle Chagas disease, especially mother-to-child transmission, in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay through a US$ 2.5 million enabler grant from Unitaid.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve health and quality of life. Founded in 1902, the organization is the world’s oldest international public health agency, and serves as a specialized health body of the Inter-American System and World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Americas.

Unitaid saves lives by making new health products affordable and available in low- and middle-income countries. Collaborating with partners, Unitaid identifies innovative treatments, tackles market barriers, and quickly delivers solutions to those in need. Since 2006, Unitaid has unlocked over 100 health products, addressing HIV, TB, malaria, women’s and children’s health, and pandemic preparedness. Every year, these products benefit more than 300 million people. Unitaid is a hosted partnership of the World Health Organization.

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