Dr. Héctor R. Acuña Monteverde, who was Director of the Pan American Health Organization from 1975 to 1983, passed away 7 February in Cuernavaca, México, at 89.
Héctor R. Acuña Monteverde was born in Sonora, Mexico, on September 24, 1921. He received the degree of Surgeon from the School of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1947 as well as a Master of Public Health degree from Yale University in 1951. He joined PAHO in 1954 and served as the Organization's chief medical adviser in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In 1962 he became representative for WHO and chief medical adviser in Pakistan.
In 1964 Dr. Acuña returned to Mexico, where he held a number of posts before becoming director of international affairs of the country's Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1971. He was appointed director of PAHO in 1975.
Under his leadership, the Organization's work in the Region emphasized the extension of health services to ever greater numbers of people. Dr. Acuña undertook a major study of PAHO's headquarters and field operations.
This study, along with recognition of the significant progress made in health in PAHO's Member Countries, led to a reorganization of PAHO that emphasized the development of information and management systems and gave increased roles and responsibilities to the Organization's field offices. Dr. Acuña served as director of PAHO until 1983.