PAHO’s Global Public Health Day Campaigns

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Global public health days provide unique opportunities to raise awareness and understanding about health issues and to mobilize support for action. They can have an impact at any level, from local communities to the international stage. PAHO supports many international days throughout the year but focuses special attention on the seven one-day and two week-long celebrations below.

Each of us can support these campaigns, whether it’s by taking our children to get vaccinated, talking to young people about the devastating health effects of tobacco, or becoming a regular blood donor—we all have a role to play! We invite you to return to this page for updated background information, facts and figures, graphics, videos and photos that will inform and inspire you to help us raise awareness and mobilize action to address these key public health challenges.

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The global cancer community commemorates World Cancer Day, on February 4, with the slogan ''I Am and I Will'. PAHO joins this campaign to call everyone, collectively and individually, to commit to strengthen actions aimed to reduce the impact of cancer. This can be achieved by reducing cancer risk factors, screening and detecting cancer at early stages, and improving access to diagnosis, adequate treatment and palliative care.

Cancer in the Americas

In the Americas, cancer is the second leading cause of death, where are an estimated 3.8 million people were newly diagnosed and 1.4 million people died from the disease in 2018. Approximately, 57% of new cancer cases and 47% of cancer deaths occurred in people 69 years of age and younger, in the prime of their lives.

The most frequently diagnosed types of cancer among men are: prostate (21.7%), lung (9.5%), colorectal (8%), bladder (4.6%) and stomach (2.9%). Among women, the types of cancer with the highest incidence are: breast (25.2%), lung (8.5%), colorectal (8.2%), thyroid (5.4 %) and cervical (3.9%)

The type of cancers with the highest mortality in men are: lung (19.6%), prostate (12.1%), colorectal (9.3%), liver (65) and stomach ( 5.4%). The cancers that cause the most deaths among women are: lung (17.4%), breast (15.1%), colorectal (9.5%) and cervical (5.2% ).

Cancer prevention

WCD20 Posters A3 Campaign FA ENGLISH FOTOalt4Cancer can be prevented and controlled by implementing evidence-based strategies for cancer prevention, screening and early detection, treatment and palliative care. The most common modifiable risk factors for cancer, which are shared with many other noncommunicable diseases, are:

        • Tobacco use
        • Low fruit and vegetable intake
        • Harmful use of alcohol
        • Lack of physical activity

Some specific risk factors for cancer include chronic infections from human papilloma virus (HPV) -for cervical cancer-, hepatitis B and C - for liver cancer-, and H.pylori -for stomach cancer.

It is estimated that 30-40 percent of cancers can be prevented by reducing these risk factors. Public health policies can be put in place to support individual healthy lifestyle choices, and that make them the easy choice. Many other cancer types, notably cervical, breast and colorectal cancer can be detected early and treated effectively through organized screening and early detection programs, and access to timely cancer treatment.

Cancer can be prevented and controlled by implementing evidence-based strategies for cancer prevention, screening and early detection, treatment and palliative care. PAHO/WHO is working with its member countries in different aspects related to cancer prevention and control.

Cervical cancer prevention and control

Approximately 72,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018 and almost 34,000 died from it in the Region of the Americas. Cervical cancer is preventable through HPV vaccination and also with screening and treatment of precancerous lesions, It can be effectively treated if diagnosed in its early stages.

"It´s time to end cervical cancer" is the slogan for the communication campaign with materials, information and stories available for Ministries of Health and health institutions to promote cervical cancer prevention through HPV vaccination and screening and treatment of precancerous lesions.

Join the campaign




Universal Health Day (also known as Universal Health Coverage Day –UHC Day) on 12 December is the annual rallying point for the growing movement for universal health – to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to quality health services without financial hardship.


Every December 1st, we celebrate World AIDS Day. This day is an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and improve understanding of HIV as a global public health problem. This year, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization propose the slogan: "Know your Status, End AIDS".