Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency working to improve health and living standards of the people of the Americas. It enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system, serving as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization, and as the health organization of the Inter-American System. 

PAHO is based in Washington, DC.  It has 27 country offices, and nine scientific centers. PAHO Member States include all 35 countries of the Americas and Puerto Rico as an Associate Member. France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are Participating States, and Portugal and Spain are Observer States. 

The Organization's essential mission is to strengthen national and local health systems and improve the health of the peoples of the Americas, in collaboration with Ministries of Health and other organizations. 

PAHO priorities include: fighting new diseases and old diseases that have re-emerged; preventing chronic diseases; decreasing infant mortality; fighting to reduce the use of tobacco; improving drinking water supplies; providing adequate sanitation; and increasing access to health care for the poor. In its efforts to improve health, PAHO targets the most vulnerable groups, including mothers and children, workers, the poor, the elderly, and refugees and displaced persons. 

PAHO has an active role in the implementation of mandates from the Summits of the Americas, especially those within the issue of health.  Its collaboration with the Summit process began with the first Miami Summit and has since then been strengthened with each Summit.  In order to see more information on its activities related to the Summits of the Americas, or on PAHO in general, please see its Web page: