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Chronic Diseases

Chronic Diseases: PAHO Activities

Chronic Disease Resource Page, Virtual Health Library (VHL): English   | Español   | Português

This fact sheet summarizes the PAHO focus and activities on chronic disease.

Mission: For member countries to adopt feasible cost-effective policies and strategies for the prevention and control of chronic diseases of major importance to public health.


  • Established in 1995 in recognition of the predominance of chronic diseases among causes of morbidity and mortality throughout the Region of the Americas.
  • Provides technical cooperation at the regional, national and local levels for chronic disease prevention and control.
  • Puts emphasis on technical capacity-building, including support for demonstration projects within countries.
  • Aimed at integrating chronic disease prevention and control within the context of primary and secondary health care.

Program Focus

  • Strengthen national capacities to develop efficient policies, strategies, and models for interventions and working partnerships for controlling chronic diseases with special emphasis on cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, and diabetes.
  • Promote the establishment of a regional network of countries using an integrated approach for chronic disease control.
  • Support the development and improvement of national and regional surveillance of chronic diseases and their risk factors.

The following chart displays the need for action in the area of chronic diseases:

Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)
for Latin America and the Caribbean

Predominance of NCDs

Legend: Yellow

Communicable Diseases, Malnutrition & Reproductive Health

Legend: Blue

Chronic Diseases

Legend: Red


Priority Areas

The above changes in the regional epidemiological profile, experienced by the majority of countries in the Americas, requires an adaptation to new priorities. Such changes need to be reflected in both the organization of health services and the allocation of resources. In order to assist member countries in this transition, key priority areas have been selected that are likely to provide an opportunity to further incorporate effective strategies that will reduce the burden of chronic diseases. This strategy was approved by the 120th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the PAHO Directing Council.