“Dr. Dahl-Regis’ list of accomplishments is long,” said PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne, during the award ceremony.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have named Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, a Bahamian public health pioneer renowned for her work in verifying and promoting disease elimination, as one of the regions Public Health Heroes.
"Dr. Dahl-Regis’ list of accomplishments is long,” said PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne, during the award ceremony Wednesday.
“But in addition to their number, there is something quite special about them, in that the most important ones in the areas of immunization and the elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis are also regional achievements. They are historical milestones for public health in the Americas," Etienne said.
Dahl-Regis is best recognized for her advocacy and support of the regional Dual Elimination Initiative, aimed at eliminating mother-to-child transmission of syphilis and HIV in the Americas, as well as her leadership of the International Expert Committee (IEC) for verifying the elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome.
When she accepted the award Dahl-Regis, acknowledged the vital role that primary health care and universal access to clean water, sanitation and proper nutrition has on people within the region and worldwide.
“This recognition of the work I have done in public health does not belong to me alone. I could not have done it without the contributions of so many, particularly of the healthcare workers in the field, the staff at all levels, my family, my friends, and lots of faith and prayers,” Dahl-Regis said. “I am really grateful for being recognized.”
PAHO's Director noted that Dahl-Regis is one of the first women to graduate in medicine in the Bahamas during the 1960s, “has carried on that Bahamian tradition of providing leadership for the pursuit of ambitious collective health goals. She has done so within the Caricom sub-region, in the Americas as a whole, and most recently at the global level.”
More recently, Dahl-Regis was invited to contribute her expertise on disease elimination as chair of the WHO's Global Validation Advisory Committee, according to Caribbean 360.