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The newsletter of the Pan American Health Organization.

El nuevo Índice de Seguridad Hospitalaria de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud ofrece un método rápido y de bajo costo para evaluar la seguridad y la confiabilidad de los establecimientos de salud en caso de desastres y emergencias. La herramienta ayuda a calcular la probabilidad de que los hospitales y otros establecimientos de salud puedan seguir prestando servicios durante inundaciones, huracanes, terremotos y otros desastres naturales.

Countries throughout the Americas celebrated the second annual World Rabies Day on Sept. 28, with events aimed at raising awareness of the risks of rabies and the need for education, vaccination, and public health readiness.

Efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the Americas have yielded mixed results, the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) top AIDS expert said on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

Representatives of the three institutions met at PAHO headquarters in Washington, D.C., in mid-December to discuss the burden of these diseases and a proposal to create a new Latin American and Caribbean Trust Fund for the Prevention, Control, and Elimination of Neglected and Other Infectious Diseases.

The Americas have made major progress against malaria in the past decade, but the region must keep up its fight against the disease, said experts in a Nov. 6 panel discussion held at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to mark Malaria Day in the Americas.

The sickening of more than 50,000 Chinese babies by infant formula contaminated with melamine provided a stark reminder that infant formula presents risks that can be avoided through breastfeeding, said PAHO Director Mirta Roses. "We as a region can do more to protect the most vulnerable members of our society," she said.

Two cities in Mexico and one in Brazil were the 2008 winners of the "Active Cities, Healthy Cities" contest, which honors urban renewal projects that promote healthier,more active lifestyles.

Hundreds of thousands of people in 14 Caribbean countries took steps to live longer, healthier lives during celebrations of the first-ever Caribbean Wellness Day, Sept. 13. The high-profile event was kicked off by heads of government, ministers of health, and other dignitaries. It included scores of activities in dozens of communities promoting physical activity, healthy eating, and greater awareness about chronic disease control and treatment and the links between healthy living, risk factors, and longer, healthier lives.

Human-influenced climate change is having detectable impacts on public health, said participants in the roundtable "Climate Change and Its Impact on Public Health: A Regional Perspective." Changes in precipitation patterns are affecting the availability of fresh water and food as well as the range and incidence of diseases including malnutrition, diarrhea, and malaria. To face these risks, participants said, countries should prepare their health systems by strengthening core public health interventions, paying greater attention to environmental and socioeconomic determinants of health, and focusing on the management of environmental risks and emergencies, particularly natural disasters.

Ministers of health and high level delegates from countries throughout the Americas gathered at Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters in late September for the 48th meeting of PAHO's Directing Council. The ministers pledged new health action in a number of priority areas, including diabetes, cervical cancer, newborn health, vector control, adolescent health, and blood safety.

An international program that will benefit 750,000mothers-to be and 1.5 million children in 10 Latin American countries was announced by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) at the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting in New York City in late September.

At least one in three women in Latin America and the Caribbean have suffered violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and in some countries as many as 60 percent, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) presented on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Dec. 4.

Socorro Gross-Galiano became assistant director of PAHO in May 2008 and currently oversees the organization's core programs for technical cooperation in its member countries.

Nurse weighs girlHealth systems around the world are failing to meet the needs of the people they are supposed to serve, a failure that is now becoming "a threat to social stability," says the 2008 World Health Report, Primary Health Care: Now More than Ever.
(from PAHO Today, the newsletter of the Pan American Health Organization)