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Statement on the passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne

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December 5, 2023 – It is with great sorrow that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) informs of the passing of Director Emeritus Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, a native of Dominica, served as Director of PAHO and World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Americas from February 2013 to January 2023.

“Carissa was a dear friend and colleague, and under her steadfast leadership and guidance, PAHO achieved significant milestones for the region of the Americas while facing one of our greatest public health challenges with COVID-19,” PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa said. “I am very saddened by her passing, and my thoughts are with her family, friends and all of us at PAHO who cared deeply for her.”

During Dr. Etienne’s tenure, PAHO led the response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic in the region of the Americas, as well as efforts to control Zika and chikungunya epidemics and cholera and yellow fever outbreaks in Haiti and Brazil, while significantly improving the Organization’s response to emergencies and disasters within 48 hours.

Under her leadership, the Americas eliminated the endemic transmission of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome, and made considerable strides in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. Legislative and regulatory mechanisms gained traction, as countries enacted legislation on the labelling of food products and introduced taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Advances were also made in strengthening national health systems and in progress toward universal health. In the last five years of Dr. Etienne’s mandate, deliveries by skilled birth attendants increased from 95% to nearly 100% and, for the first time, the Region of the Americas reached the recommended target of 25 physicians and nurses per 10,000 people.

Prior to becoming PAHO Director, from March 2008 to November 2012, Dr. Etienne served as Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Before that, she served as Assistant Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau from July 2003 to February 2008, where she led five technical areas: Health Systems and Services; Technology, Health Care, and Research; Health Surveillance and Disease Management; Family and Community Health; and Sustainable Development and Environmental Health.

During her tenure at both WHO and PAHO, Dr. Etienne directed efforts to renew and strengthen health systems based on primary health care. She has also spearheaded policies for reducing health inequalities, increasing people-centered care, and integrating health into broader public policies.

“We have lost a great public health champion,” Dr. Barbosa said. “Dr. Etienne’s invaluable experience will be sorely missed in global health discussions to improve the lives of people and to ensure better preparedness for global health emergencies.”

Dr. Etienne began her career in her native Dominica as a medical officer at the Princess Margaret Hospital and was later appointed as the Chief Medical Officer of that country. She has also served in other high-level posts in Dominica, including as Director of Primary Health Care Services, Coordinator of the National AIDS Program, Disaster Coordinator for the Ministry of Health, and Chair of the National Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Etienne received her medical degree (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery-MBBS) from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and her Master of Science Degree (MSc) in Community Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London.

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Trinidad Makes Big Energy Commitment

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#TrinidadandTobago#Energy, February 20th, 2024 – To diversify its energy mix as well as its economy, Trinidad and Tobago is putting focus on energy transition for development, working on a solar project which will potentially change energy production for the nation.

This was announced by Prime Minister Keith Rowley at the opening of the Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo 2024 in Guyana on February 19th.

Expressing that energy is the center of economic development, Rowley highlights why this development is significant. He says in order to transform the energy system to cater to the growing demand for energy while decreasing global emissions, a broad mix of energy is needed.

He further mentions that this is what’s required of producer economies like Trinidad and Tobago for development.

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Irish Humanitarian Organization in Haiti – Address Hunger Crisis and More

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti#Crisis#ConcernWorldwide, February 2oth, 2024 – Seeing that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens day by day with too many Haitians, hundreds of thousands, edging the line to severe deprivation of food, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide is addressing major food insecurity. 

 The organization in a release said “ “We are providing food assistance, via electronic vouchers to help families purchase food from local vendors so that they can feed their families and prevent malnutrition in children as the situation worsens.”

They are also working to provide Haitians with clean water and sanitation as the waterborne disease Cholera continues to threaten lives, killing more than 1,150 people in 2023.

And, they provide referrals for cases of sexual and gender based violence in Port au Prince.

Concern is supported by funding from USAID, receiving €2.1 million (euros) to help over 30 thousand people in the hunger crisis as well as €1 million (euros) yearly from the Irish Government for its work in Haiti.

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Why the Haitian President’s Wife – Martine Moïse – was charged with his 2021 Assassination

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Haiti, February 21, 2024 – Martine Moïse, the widow of Haiti’s assassinated President Jovenel Moïse, is being charged for involvement in his July 2021 murder, according to recent reports on Monday February 19th, 2024.

She is charged for complicity and involvement in criminal associations.

In his report, Haitian Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire reveals there were questionable actions related to Martine Moïse as well as statements that simply didn’t add up.

For instance, Voltaire states that she mentions hiding under the marital bed for safety during the attack on her husband, but authorities expressed that this claim is illogical, saying that a giant rat measuring “between 35 and 45 centimeters,” could not fit under the bed.

This is due to the fact that the gap between the bed and the floor was 14 to 18 inches, according to the indictment.

Considering these revelations, Voltaire states that her claims were “so tainted with contradictions that they leave something to be desired and discredit her.”

There are other suspicious actions by Mrs. Moïse, reported by the Judge, as revealed by Lyonel Valbrun, former Secretary General of the National Palace.

Voltiare’s report says Valbrun claimed there was pressure from the late President’s wife to make available to Claude Joseph, former Prime Minister, office space for the organization of a Council of Ministers.  Additionally, Valbrun reported that Martine Moïse dedicated hours to remove objects from the Palace during the days leading up to her husband’s murder.

Joseph, like the former first lady is also being charged for complicity and involvement in criminal associations.  Also, they were both injured during the attack on Jovenel Moïse.

The accusations against Mrs. Moïse, reports say, are also based on information from Joseph Badio, former official in Haiti’s Justice Ministry, who is accused of being involved in planning the Haitian president’s 2021 assassination.

According to the indictment, linked in  Voltaire’s 122 page report highlights Badio “outing” Mrs. Moïse for plotting with others, Joseph included, to kill her husband to gain power.

Joining Joseph and Moïse with charges is Léon Charles, ex-chief of Haiti’s National Police, carrying the worst of the charges including, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons, conspiracy against the state’s internal security, and involvement in criminal associations.

Haitian-American pastor Christian Emmanuel Sanon, former DEA informant Joseph Vincent, presidential security chief Dimitri Hérard, former senator John Joël Joseph, and judge Windelle Coq, are also among the accused, some already sentenced and some handed over to the US to face Federal charges.

Media reports have exposed that after a two and a half year investigation, there are still unanswered questions.  And, despite going into details about the assassination, it fails to reveal the motive behind it and how it was financed.

A separate case on Moise’s killing is being tried in Miami.

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