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The education and training of health workers in Latin America has always been a high priority for the Pan American Health Organization. In addition to a concern to develop training programs and educational methodology, PAHO has had a long-term interest in preparing and providing instructional materials that health personnel need as part of their learning process. PAHO efforts in this area date from the 1960’s, when a lack of access to a high-quality textbooks for undergraduate Latin American medical students was identified as a serious impediment to the training of physicians.


A study carried out in 1965 under PAHO auspices determined that relatively few high-quality medical textbooks were available in Spanish, and those that were had prices beyond the reach of many potential users.  The answer to the problem developed by PAHO in consultation with its member governments and the universities of the region was to create the Medical Textbook Program, a mechanism to provide high-quality instructional materials at prices which would represent a real incentive for students to use them.


First implemented in 1968, the basic scheme involves centralized book purchase in bulk quantities, thus obtaining significant discounts from publishers; use of PAHO's Headquarters and country field office infrastructure for assistance in shipping logistics and financial management; and administration of sales by the universities without charge to the Program.  That same year, PAHO negotiated a loan with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to finance the Medical Textbooks Program.

Since 1971 PALTEX operations are financed by two revolving funds created by PAHEF with loans from the Inter-American Development Bank.  The first one was made to purchase textbooks for medical students, and the second loan was made in 1979, to finance the Program’s expansion to include other health sciences disciplines. At that point, the Program’s name was changed to Expanded Textbooks and Instructional Materials Program (PALTEX).

PALTEX was pioneering in translating classical books of medicine and nursing as: "Harrison Principles of Internal Medicine", "Nelson Pediatrics", "Conceptual Bases of Professional Nursing", etc.



Last Updated on Friday, 21 May 2010 14:52