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Published in: 09/19/2016

ISAGS consolidates collaboration with the Andean Health Organization

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The director of UNASUR’s Health Institute (ISAGS), Carina Vance, and the executive secretary of the Andean Health Organization (ORAS-CONHU), Nila Heredia, signed the Framework Convention for Interinstitutional Collaboration in the city of Cartagena on September 7, 2016. Both authorities attended the XV Ibero-American Meeting of Ministers of Health and the LAC Conference 'Reducing Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health' in Colombia. Representatives from the Ministries of Health of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru also participated in the meeting.

ISAGS Bylaws includes collaboration with counterpart health institutions as one of its functions and assigns the responsibility for maintaining and strengthening relations with South American institutions and international organizations to the Institute’s Executive Directorate. Moreover, there is a decision of UNASUR’s Health Council which recommends the incorporation and integration of efforts and achievements of sub-regional organizations, such as ORAS-CONHU.

The convention aims to promote and strengthen relations between both parts, in order to foster the organizations’ activities and actions of the Ministries of Health of South American countries, so as to enable the convergence of agendas and the identification of approaches to address health issues in the region.

According to the Agreement, the institutions will elaborate an annual Work Plan based on convergent fields of action, in accordance with the guidelines of the South American Health Council, formed by the 12 member countries of UNASUR and the Meeting of Ministers of Health of the Andean Area (REMSAA).  During a visit to ISAGS, in June, Heredia talked about potentials for collaboration between both organizations. “It seems to me that it is vital to reach an agreement so that we can mutually enhance our strengths and overcome our weaknesses, given that we both work towards improving health in the region”, she affirmed.

According to Carina Vance, “integration mechanisms should go beyond the conceptual coincidence about the importance of converging agendas and achieve conjoint and coordinated concrete actions that will accelerate the accomplishment of health goals in countries of the region.”

ISAGS’ authorities and the ORAS-CONHU have already established the development of coordinated actions in the areas of Access to Medicines, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Nutrition and Food Safety, Health in Border Areas, and Disaster and Risk Management. Considering disaster and risk management, for example, ISAGS will hold a workshop at its headquarters, on September 20 and 21, with the participation of representatives of ORAS-CONHU, with the aim of building a South American Disaster and Risk Plan.

The convention will be valid for two years, being automatically renewed. The initiative concretizes the conjoint work that is being developed by ISAGS, together with the Andean Health Organization, since the Institute’s foundation, five years ago.