Guatemala proposes PAHO generate report on current state of health systems for treating people with substance abuse problems

Election of 3 Member States to the Exec Comm (61)

During consideration of the progress report on the Plan of Action on Psychoactive Substance Use and Public Health, the countries discussed a proposal from the representation of Guatemala that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) prepare a report on the current state of health systems for treating people with substance abuse problems, and another on its work with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

Referring to the progress report, the Acting Director of PAHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr. Carlos Santos-Burgoa, said that progress has been made in the recognition of the impact of these substances on health, but that this has not yet been translated into care. He said that primary care still has a limited role in addressing this problem, and affirmed that PAHO works with countries and also with the CICAD to respond.

The Ambassador of Guatemala to the Organization of American States (OAS), José Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon, indicated that the strategy is a tool, and stressed how much of a health problem drug abuse is and the impact it has on health systems that are unable provide treatment. He suggested that to achieve better results and to maximize resources PAHO should conduct a study on the capacity of health systems to tackle the problem of drugs and another on how the strategies of PAHO and CICAD are complementary.

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