Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez signed a cooperative arrangement (CA) with Secretary General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States (OAS) on July 20, 2022, to increase transparency and accountability in government procurement of medical products. This agreement aims to curb corruption in public medical product procurement by establishing a panel of experts from countries in the Western Hemisphere on a voluntary basis to audit government procurement and provide assistance on anti-corruption best practices to help save lives.
The signing of this CA marks another milestone as part of a concerted effort to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. At the Ninth Summit of Americas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Under Secretary Fernandez launched the Economic and Health Dialogue of the Americas (EHA) alongside seven coalition countries from the region, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the OAS. EHA aims to address multidisciplinary problems laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing together ministries of health, economy, finance, and foreign affairs within and between countries in the Western Hemisphere. We are advancing the joint efforts with the OAS under the EHA. Today’s signing of the CA is an important part of a regional health framework to increase transparency and strengthen health systems in our Hemisphere.