The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is the specialized international health agency for the Americas. It works with countries throughout the region to improve and protect people's health.
PAHO engages in technical cooperation with its member countries to fight communicable and noncommunicable diseases and their causes, to strengthen health systems, and to respond to emergencies and disasters.
PAHO is committed to ensuring that all people have access to the health care they need, when they need it, with quality and without fear of falling into poverty. Through its work, PAHO promotes and supports the right of everyone to good health.
To advance these goals, PAHO promotes technical cooperation between countries and works in partnership with ministries of health and other government agencies, civil society organizations, other international agencies, universities, social security agencies, community groups, and other partners. PAHO promotes the inclusion of health in all public policies and the engagement of all sectors in efforts to ensure that people live longer, healthier lives, with good health as their most valuable resource.
PAHO has 35 Member States and four Associate Members in the region. Under their leadership, PAHO sets regional health priorities and mobilizes action to address health problems that respect no borders and that, in many cases, jeopardize the sustainability of health systems.
PAHO wears two institutional hats: it is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System and also serves as Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), the specialized health agency of the United Nations.
From its Washington, D.C., headquarters, 27 country offices and three specialized centers in the region, PAHO promotes evidence-based decision-making to improve and promote health as a driver of sustainable development.
During its more than 110-year history, PAHO has played a key role in important hemispheric health achievements, including:
In 1870, a yellow fever epidemic struck Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina and, within eight years, had spread to the United States, where it killed more than 20,000 people. Maritime transport, which was expanding rapidly along with international trade, was the main channel for the international spread of disease at the end of the 19th century. The need to control the spread of epidemics from one country to another to protect people's health and countries' economies led to the creation in December 1902 of what is today known as the Pan American Health Organization. [Read more...]
PAHO's main governing bodies are the Pan American Sanitary Conference, the Directing Council, and the Executive Committee.
PAHO is financed through quota contributions from its Member States, WHO allocations, and voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, and the public and private sectors.