Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dominican borne Dr Carissa Etienne has received a major award from the South American country of Paraguay.

Dr Etienne was this week awarded the Grand Cross National Order of Merit, in recognition of her work in supporting Paraguay in the improvement of its health system.

The PAHO Head met with the President of Paraguay Mario Abdo Benitez to discuss the country’s public health achievements and challenges, as well as PAHO’s technical cooperation regarding these matters.

The National Order of Merit was created by the National Extraordinary Congress in 1865, and is granted to those worthy of national gratitude for extraordinary and exceptional services rendered to the country.

Dr Etienne became the first Dominican to head the world health body.

Her discussions in Paraguay were held on the challenges with reducing infant mortality, as well as those regarding non communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Following the meeting, Dr Etienne signed an agreement allowing for PAHO to cooperate with Paraguay until 2030.