[Extract] The significant challenges to equity in health in the Region of the Americas, as detailed in the report of the Pan American Health Organization Independent Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas (1), gave original impetus to this Special Issue on Equity in Health by the Pan American Journal of Public Health. The report, Just Societies: Health Equity and Dignified Lives, analyzed a vast body of evidence that indicated the overwhelming inequalities in the Region that relate to three factors: structural drivers, conditions of daily life, and governance for health equity (taking action).
Highlighting the continued realities of the interrelationship between social and health inequities in the Americas is by no means new (2). However, since early 2020 this interrelationship has been further exposed and exacerbated by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which is testing governments, communities, economies, and individuals in ways previously unimagined in their scope and intensity (3). The crisis is exposing underlying inequalities in health and the cost of inaction to address this long-standing social injustice, and the COVID-19 response is even reversing improvements in social and health indicators made in the last two decades (3, 4).[...]