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PAHO highlights several countries in the Americas for Covid-19 response

November 11, 2020

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Wednesday highlighted several countries of the American continent for learning from key lessons to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are not ranking countries,” said Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of PAHO, regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO). But the organization commended governments that responded well to the crisis.

“In issues that are important to improve the response, these countries are a good example,” he said at a press conference.

Chile and small Caribbean nations, especially those in the Eastern Caribbean, have demonstrated robust disease surveillance systems capable of detecting and taking action on increases in COVID-19 cases.

In addition, Barbosa distinguished Argentina, Costa Rica and Jamaica for doing “particularly well” in contact tracing to avoid the spread of the virus.

PAHO’s third recommendation is that countries base their response to COVID-19 on their primary health systems.

Canada and Brazil did this, Barbosa said, by adjusting their health workforce to meet growing demand, while Cuba and Costa Rica secured care through their strong universal health coverage systems.

In terms of the preparation of emergency medical teams, the fourth of the measures recommended by PAHO, Barbosa underlined the focus of Uruguay and Peru, where, as he said, internal teams were deployed in virus hotspots to attend to patients and ease the burden on local clinics and hospitals.

“In these matters, these countries are doing very well and we recognize it,” said the PAHO Deputy Director.

Barbosa recalled that until a vaccine and better treatments against COVID-19 are achieved, countries may have recurrent outbreaks, so they must be prepared to prevent new cases and spikes in infection rates.

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