Inter-American Dialogue’s Health Task Force Launches Report

July 28, 2021
Contact: Inter-American Dialogue 

Washington, DC –  Today, the co-chairs of the Dialogue’s Inter-American Health Task Force will present the white paper ‘Deepening Cooperation and Coordination on Health Policy in the Americas: A New Approach to Health Emergencies’ in an online event. The report is a product of the work of task force members that took place through virtual exchanges and meetings during the second quarter of 2021. Its specific recommendations focus on how to improve regional cooperation and coordination in health policies to support preparedness, readiness, monitoring, and responses to future health emergencies in the Western Hemisphere.  

The task force was co-chaired by Dialogue members Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami, and Helene Gayle, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, and directed by Beatriz Londoño, former minister of health of Colombia. “This task force could not have come at a better time,” said Frenk. “It is clear that the only way to confront future pandemics is by working together. We need to capitalize on this moment to introduce fundamental structural changes into the global health system to better protect every one of us.”

Although unprecedented measures have been taken to control the pandemic, the lack of coordination and cooperation has been a real problem across the region. The Americas has been the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recommendations are aimed at: promoting leadership and better governance; increasing access and sharing of high-quality data while guaranteeing data protection and privacy; strengthening regional health security; ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 health services and products; and controlling and managing the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.

According to Gayle, “we need to establish robust and reliable systems to better coordinate our response to pandemic threats. This report gives insights on crucial issues such as the role of PAHO and international financial institutions, the equitable and timely access to vaccines, transparency on data sharing, and the role of foundations, nonprofits, and the private sector.”

Dialogue president Michael Shifter emphasized that the initiative made sense for an organization that brings together diverse and influential leaders to tackle tough and timely hemispheric challenges. “At a time when countries in the Americas are looking inward, inter-American cooperation and collaboration are more crucial than ever,” he said. “We are grateful to task force members and the director for their valuable contributions and to the co-chairs for their dedication and outstanding leadership of this effort.” 

About the Health Task Force at the Inter-American Dialogue 
The Health Task Force is an initiative of the Inter-American Dialogue. The group met virtually over a 3-month period to identify specific recommendations to deepen cooperation and coordination in health policy in the Americas.

The members of the group include: George Alleyne (Barbados), Julio Bango (Uruguay), Catalina Botero (Colombia), Marcelo Cabrol (Argentina), Oscar Chacon (United States), Monica de Bolle (Brazil), Julio Frenk (Mexico), Patricia Garcia (Peru), Helene Gayle (United States), Steve Hoffman (Canada), Donna Hrinak (United States), Carlos Felipe Jaramillo (Colombia), Natalia Kanem (Panama), Felicia Marie Knaul (Canada), Claudia López (Colombia), Rafael Lozano (Mexico), Carl Meacham (United States), Salvador Paiz (Guatemala), Feliciano Reyna (Venezuela), Fernando Ruiz (Colombia), Daniel Salas (Costa Rica), Jaime Sepulveda (Mexico), Donna Shalala (United States), Hugo Sigman (Argentina), Juan Gabriel Valdes (Chile), Joel Velasco (United States), Maria Eugenia Vidal (Argentina), Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico). 

The work of the task force was made possible by the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, UnitedHealth Group, and the World Bank Group. 
About the Inter-American Dialogue 
The Inter-American Dialogue engages its network of global leaders to foster democratic governance, prosperity, and social equity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, we shape policy debate, generate ideas, devise solutions, and enhance collaboration within the Western Hemisphere.