Official Funeral For Former PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne to be Held on Wednesday

ROSEAU, Dominica – More than a month after she died of an apparent heart failure in the United States, the Dominica government Monday announced that the former director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa Etienne, will be given an official funeral on Wednesday.

doccarTSDr. Carissa Etienne (PAHO Photo)According to a statement issued by the Cabinet Secretariat , the government has accorded the 71-year-old Dr. Etienne, who died on December 1 last year,  an official funeral “in honor of her outstanding contribution to public health administration in Dominica and as Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) from 2013-2023”.

It said that a Day of Mourning has been declared for Wednesday, January 10, the day of the funeral, and all state flags on all public buildings shall be flown at half-mast.

The official viewing on Wednesday morning will take place at the State House Conference Center and public viewing will take place at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church for 45 minutes in the afternoon.

Etienne, had recently retired from PAHO and was declared Director-Emeritus on September 30, 2022, at the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference.

“From a little girl in Massacre, Dominica, walking barefoot, going to school, being as every other child was. If that child can rise to become director of PAHO, then there is hope for every child that walks the streets of the Americas (including the Caribbean),” said Etienne during the ceremony.

“Dr. Carissa F. Etienne is credited for leading PAHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region of the Americas, as well as for efforts to control the Zika and chikungunya epidemics and cholera and yellow fever outbreaks in Haiti and Brazil.,” the statement said.

Dr. Etienne served as assistant director-general of the World Health Organization from 2008 – 2013; PAHO assistant director from 2003 – 2008 and director of Primary Health Care Services in Dominica 1989 – 2001.

She had previously served as Chief Medical Officer, Coordinator of the National HIV/AIDS Programme, National Epidemiologist, and Medical Director at the then Princess Margaret Hospital.

The statement said that President Sylvanie Burton, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit as well as government ministers will attend the funeral service that will be broadcast live via government media platforms and radio stations.