PAHO Director completed visit to Argentina focusing on vaccine production and community approach to mental health

Buenos Aires, October 7, 2023 (PAHO/WHO). The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Jarbas Barbosa, participated yesterday in the closing of the 5th World Summit on Mental Health where he emphasized the importance of integrating this issue into all public policies in order to address social determinants, economic and environmental aspects of mental health.

“The incorporation of mental health in all policies will reinforce recovery efforts from the pandemic and will contribute to rebuilding better health systems and services,” the PAHO Director said in Buenos Aires.

Dr. Barbosa highlighted that “investing in the development of human capital and social protection is essential to promote and protect mental health” while considering it necessary to “increase investment in community-based care” to improve the recovery results of the people with mental health problems.

He also indicated that childhood and adolescence “constitute an important window of opportunity to promote and protect good mental health, identify people at risk and provide early care.” He also highlighted old age, a time of life when “older adults also face significant mental health risks.” For this, “the expansion of community-based services and care, as well as integrated networks of services and support beyond the health sector,” is essential.

Another of the axes that he highlighted was the value of mental health and psychosocial support as essential components in the response to public health emergencies, humanitarian crises, and the present and future threats of climate change.

“I am confident that if we, as a global community, work together, we can build on the momentum generated by this summit to transform mental health for the good of all, including future generations,” concluded the PAHO Director.

mRNA technology transfer

In the morning, Dr. Barbosa visited the Sinergium Biotech plant in order to see the facilities and sign the cooperation agreement for the production of mRNA vaccines in Argentina, within the framework of the Regional Platform for the innovation and production of vaccines and other PAHO health technologies.

This cooperation is complemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) technology transfer program for the development of mRNA vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. Thus, in September 2021, PAHO/WHO announced that Sinergium Biotech, from Argentina, and the Bio-Manguinhos Institute of Immunobiology, from Brazil, were selected to join the WHO network for technology transfer for the mRNA vaccines.

The agreement was also signed on Monday with national authorities so that the National Administration of Laboratories and Health Institutes “Dr. Carlos Malbrán” (ANLIS-Malbrán), dependent on the Ministry of Health of Argentina, is part of the production chain through the development of lipid nanoparticles, essential inputs in the production of mRNA vaccines. In addition, it includes the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation (R&D+i Agency) which will contribute to the promotion of studies and the creation of capabilities in the country.

These activities culminated yesterday in the official visit to Argentina of the Director of PAHO, which began on Monday and included a work agenda that included meetings with national and jurisdictional authorities in the field of government, health, science and technology, as well as with members of the Commission for Social Action and Public Health of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress where Dr. Barbosa advocated for Argentina’s ratification of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addition, during the week the Director of PAHO toured the ANLIS – Malbrán laboratories and the vaccination center and the facilities of the Garrahan Hospital. He also announced the creation of the Pharmaceutical Services Network of the Americas (RedSFar), presented a new tool to evaluate the quality of the provision of pharmaceutical services, held a meeting with representatives of the PAHO Collaborating Centers in Argentina, and spoke at a conference on the challenge of health systems organized by the Latin American Association of Private Health Systems (ALAMI).

To see published note click here.


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