Special fund will fight disease outbreaks

The Pan-American Health Organization and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America announced joint actions to strengthen the capacity of countries in the Americas to respond to disease outbreaks and epidemics, including ebola, during the 7th Summit of the Americas, which was held in Panama City.

CAF is making available up to $300 million to support efforts to prepare for ebola and other potential disease outbreaks. The announcement was made by Carissa F. Etienne and CAF Executive President Enrique Garcia, who noted that the impact of diseases such as ebola can go far beyond the health sector.

Ms. Etienne is director of the regional health agency, a World Health Organization entity.

“In our interconnected world, disease outbreaks can have serious economic and social repercussions,” said Ms. Etienne. “Countries need to be ready to protect themselves.”

Garcia said the $300 million “demonstrates CAF’s willingness to keep offering financial alternatives and technical assistance to its member countries to help their governments handle risks, start prevention plans and respond with agility and speed when confronting emergencies.”

CAF´s funding, approved by its board of directors in late 2014, will be available to support efforts including strengthening epidemic surveillance systems and health services to ensure rapid and effective response to potential disease outbreaks. PAHO/WHO will provide technical support for CAF and for member countries in disease outbreak preparedness efforts, in collaboration with national governments in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Pan-American Health has undertaken a series of actions to help its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean increase their preparedness to

CAF is a development bank created in 1970, made up by 19 countries—17 of Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal—as well as 14 private banks in the region.

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