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The Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony and the Ministry of Health extend congratulations to Dr. Barbosa da Silva Jr., the Brazilian candidate who was one of the nominees for the post of Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Dr. Barbosa was elected by a majority of the ministers of health attending the meeting at PAHO’s headquarters. Dr. Barbosa will begin his five-year term on February 1, 2023, succeeding Dr. Carissa F. Etienne of Dominica, who has led PAHO since 2012.
Dr. Barbosa was elected on Wednesday, September 29, 2022, during the Directing Council Meeting of PAHO which is currently taking place in Washington, DC. The Minister of Health is attending the meeting. Soon after his election, the Director-elect met with ministers of health from CARICOM. Minister Frank Anthony met with the Director-elect and had discussions with him about various topics.
Dr. Barbosa is an experienced public health practitioner and has served as PAHO’s Assistant Director since 2012. Dr. Barbosa has worked closely with Guyana and other CARICOM countries for decades, not just during the time he served as PAHO’s Assistant Director and knows Guyana well. In welcoming him to his new post, which he will begin in February 2023, Minister Anthony noted that Dr. Barbosa has since 2020 been working with CARICOM countries to advance COVID-19 vaccination, even before any emergency use approval for vaccines. He worked closely with countries of the Caribbean to ensure preparatory arrangements were in place for COVID-19 vaccines once they would have become available.
During the preparatory work with COVAX to ensure equitable supplies for vaccines were in place for the region, Dr. Barbosa was a lead PAHO official working with colleagues in the WHO. Since the COVID-19 vaccination programs have rolled out, he has also been PAHO’s lead voice for regional capacities to produce medicines and other health technologies, such as vaccines.
In an earlier stint with PAHO, Dr. Barbosa worked with countries, in his capacity as Area Manager for Surveillance and Disease Management, to build surveillance capacities, particularly as related to International Health Regulations. Since that time, he has worked closely with CARICOM countries, including Guyana.
Before going to PAHO in 2007, he worked in senior positions in the Ministry of Health, Brazil and returned to Brazil for a short while serving in various senior positions. After Dr. Carissa Etienne took up the position of Director of PAHO, in 2012, Dr. Barbosa returned to serve as her Assistant Director.