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A dear friend of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Plutarco Naranjo Vargas, has just turned 90. He is a prestigious Ecuadorian physician and public health expert, world-renowned for his extensive experience.

Dr. Naranjo (second from the left) was President of the World Health Assembly at
WHO in 1990.

Dr. Naranjo has devoted his career to exploring many facets of medicine, ranging from the study of allergies to hygiene, nutrition, and pharmacology. He never lost sight, however, of the goal of improving the health and quality of life of our peoples, especially the indigenous peoples of the Region.

The Ecuadorian Academy of Medicine has just given him well-deserved recognition by publishing a valuable book containing articles written by academics and researchers who are familiar with and have evaluated Dr. Naranjo's work. This book highlights his important role in national and international medical congresses, his initiative in organizing courses in medical specialties, his research in the field of traditional medicine, with special emphasis on its social nature and matters related to indigenous health, one of his continuing concerns.

Dr. Plutarco Naranjo Vargas at PAHO to receive the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Inter American Public Health, in 1993.
A prolific writer, Dr. Naranjo has published dozens of books and over 500 scientific articles in national and foreign journals. He has also served as Ecuador's Director of Social Security and Minister of Health.

In the international sphere, in 1990 he served as President of the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) and as a member of medical academies and corporations abroad. In 1993, the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF)  in Washington, D.C., bestowed on him the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Inter American Public Health during the 37th PAHO Directing Council Meeting. In 2002, during the PAHO centennial, our representation in Ecuador acknowledged his efforts over the years by naming him a Public Health Hero.

Another important facet of Dr. Naranjo's work has been his historical research. His work in ethnomedicine in Ecuador and traditional aboriginal medicine has made a substantial scientific and historical contribution to the field of medical anthropology.

Dr. Naranjo's scientific work, moreover, touches on numerous health and nutrition issues. In this field, he has studied the properties of certain plants grown in the Americas that also have a place in history, such as the potato, manioc, corn, and beans.

Through his tireless visionary work, Dr. Plutarco Naranjo has set an example for new generations that will inspire them to continue his illustrious legacy.

Mirta Roses Periago
PAHO Director

Last Updated on Friday, 08 July 2011 15:26

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