The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was founded in 1902 and is the world's oldest international public health agency working to improve the health and well-being of people in the Americas. The organization is committed to providing the highest level of technical support and leadership to PAHO Member States as they pursue their goal of Health for All. It enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system, serving as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).
PAHO is based in Washington, DC and has scientific and technical experts at that office and in its country offices and scientific centers, all working with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in dealing with priority health issues. The health authorities of PAHO's Member States set PAHO's technical and administrative policies through its Governing Bodies.
The Organization's essential mission is to strengthen national and local health systems and improve the health of the peoples of the Americas, in collaboration with Ministries of Health, other government and international agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, social security agencies, community groups, and many others.
PAHO promotes primary healthcare strategies, which reach people in their communities, to extend health services to all and to increase efficiency in the use of scarce resources. It assists countries in fighting old diseases that have re-emerged, such as cholera, dengue and tuberculosis, and new diseases such as the spreading AIDS epidemic, providing technical cooperation including education and social communications support, promoting work with non-governmental organizations, and support for programs to prevent transmission of communicable diseases. The Organization is also involved in the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, which are increasingly affecting the populations of developing countries in the Americas.
In its efforts to improve health, PAHO targets the most vulnerable groups including mothers and children, workers, the poor, the elderly, and refugees and displaced persons. It focuses on issues related to equity for those who lack access to healthcare and on a Pan-American approach encouraging countries to work together on common issues.
More information can be found by visiting www.paho.org.