Washington D.C. 25 September 2018 (PAHO/WHO) – In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has inaugurated a photo exhibition and accompanying book to highlight health progress in the region, particularly in the area of public health.

The exhibition was inaugurated today within the framework of PAHO’s 56th Directing Council, which brings together Ministers of Health and high-level health delegates from the Region of the Americas.

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Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director Emeritus PAHO/WHO, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO/WHO Director

In 1978, during the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Almaty (previously, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan), leaders from around the world signed a declaration, formally affirming the fundamental values of the right to health, equity and solidarity. The Declaration highlighted the importance of primary health care as the most equitable and effective strategy for strengthening health systems and guaranteeing the right to health as a fundamental human right.

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The images shown at the exhibition highlight key moments from the past 40 years in the Region, and PAHO’s contribution to advancing primary health care. These photos range from the Primary Health Care Conference at the Lenin Convention Center in 1978, to vaccination campaigns held during the Central American conflict during the 1980s. The photographs also depict initiatives during the cholera epidemic in the 1990s and the recent support provided to countries in order to tackle the Zika virus, among others. The exhibition emphasizes the Organization’s commitment to achieving the health and well-being of the population of the countries of the Americas throughout its various historical contexts.

The International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata was the most important international political health event of the 1970s. Its Declaration was the cornerstone for the transformation of health systems in the Americas and the development of more comprehensive, equitable and quality health services based on primary health care.