Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dominican Dr. Carissa Etienne is in search of one additional country to secure her vote as the new Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). Dr. Etienne is one of five candidates vying for the position and is looking to secure twenty votes by September 2012.
During an exclusive interview with the Government Information Service (GIS) on Tuesday, Dr. Etienne confirmed that Dominica has already received the commitment of nineteen countries.
“There are thirty-eight (38) voting member states and the CARICOM vote is very important. We have fourteen CARICOM countries and five Latin American countries and we need twenty (20) votes to win.”
Dr. Etienne confirms that the campaign has been a rigorous but pleasant one thus far.
“I think we have been helped by some friendly countries and we have had to visit the Embassies in Washington accompanied by our Ambassador H.E Hubert Charles. Our Minister of Health Hon. Julius Timothy has also been quite active in working with other ministers of health in this effort.” relates Dr. Etienne.
The Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) through its membership body has indicated that they will support Dominica’s candidacy for the position of Director-General of PAHO.
Dr. Etienne is grateful for the tremendous level of support shown by Dominica especially that of the Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, who has made representation on her behalf at both the CARICOM and International levels.
“Our Prime Minister has really been a champion. He has made representation at the very highest levels, not only with CARICOM but with other countries.”
Dr. Etienne has served since 2008 as the Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a globally recognized public health champion and advocate, improving access to health care for poor and marginalized populations.
The health professional is confident that she has the capacity and experience to head the Pan American Health Organisation in this major leadership role.
She itemized some of her major priorities if she is to assume this new role.
“When I am successful I shall focus on ensuring that the organization continues in excellence. I think I have the required experience and competence to do this. I have worked at the local level, at the regional level and at the International Level. I have had the necessary exposure that would allow me to lead an organization like the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) well into the 21st Century. So certainly I look forward to heading that Organization,” she concluded.
The election is due the week of September 17, 2012.
If confirmed to the position, Dr. Etienne will be the first Dominican and second Caribbean national to hold this position.