Culture encompasses the various facets of shared living, especially the values, attitudes, ideas, norms, and internalized habits and perceptions, and tends to define a community of people who have similar cultural practices. A diversity of cultures provides the world with a mosaic of experiences and paradigms. Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most diverse regions in the world, though it is also where one of the largest disparities in terms of socio-economic classes exist. PAHO recognizes the need to address the ethnic, social and cultural diversities that exist within its Member States in order to create health policies and services that are accessible to entire populations. Currently, PAHO is working to strengthen the exchange of knowledge between health services and indigenous people, Afro-descendants and Rrom through intercultural means and trace routes to solve these problems.
- In the Region of the Americas, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, Roma, and members of other ethnic groups continue to experience structural discrimination, exclusion,
- The invisibility and discrimination often experienced by these populations heighten their conditions of vulnerability.
- These populations pose a challenge for meeting the targets of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those on universal access to health and universal health coverage, tuberculosis, malaria, and mental health, among others.
- PAHO urges the Member States to consider the connection between ethnicity and health, and to promote an intercultural approach that will contribute, among other aspects, to the elimination of access barriers to health services and improve the health outcomes of indigenous peoples, Afro descendants, Roma, and members of other ethnic groups, as appropriate, considering their
national contexts, priorities, and regulatory frameworks.
- PAHO will provide technical cooperation to the Member States for the implementation of actions with an intercultural approach geared to the following priority lines:
a) the production of evidence; b) the promotion of policy action; c) social participation and
strategic partnerships; d) recognition of ancestral knowledge and traditional and
complementary medicine; and e) capacity development at all levels.