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Paraguay's Minister of Health Visits PAHO Headquarters

Washington, DC, August 3, 2009 (PAHO) - The Minister of Health and Welfare of Paraguay, Dr. Esperanza Martinez, spoke today to a large audience of experts from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), at the organization's headquarters. Dr. Martinez gave a presentation on public policies geared towards quality of life and health with equity, and on the status of health systems and services in the first year of her tenure at the Ministry.

Dr. Esperanza Martínez
(Photo by David Spitz/PAHO)
Dr. Martinez mentioned that her team faces challenges and have set goals they hope to achieve by the end of 2013. "We can live longer and better in a country that promotes social justice in quality of life and health, that guarantees the rights of the people and protects life through the State's responsibility in building a national public health system for all and in all corners of the country, with the participation of the citizenry," she said.

40% of Paraguay's population is under 35 years of age, and in recent years the country has been in demographic and epidemiological transition. A high percentage of the rural population has been moving to marginal urban areas, and that has generated large concentrations of social inequalities and poverty.

PAHO Director, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, welcomed Minister Martinez and thanked her country for supporting PAHO during the seventh Vaccination Week in the Americas, held in the South American Chaco region, on the border of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Dr. Roses reiterated her commitment to continue strengthening PAHO's technical cooperation with Paraguay through public health programs.

The Republic of Paraguay is located in central South America. The country is divided by the Paraguay River into two distinct regions, the Western Chaco, which has three departments, and the eastern region, with 14 departments. In 2006, Paraguay's population was 5,946,471, with 58.1% of the population living in urban areas and 41.9% in rural areas.

Dr. Esperanza Martinez graduated from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Asunción, and earned two graduate degrees in Public Health, at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in Brazil.


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