Health in Latin America and the Caribbean
April 20, 2009
The United States’ geographic proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as its extensive trade, migration, and border relationships with countries in the hemisphere, make addressing health issues in the Americas a matter of national interest. Challenges include the persistence of high maternal and infant mortality rates; diarrheal and respiratory diseases; and vaccine-preventable infections in some countries, along with the emergence of noncommunicable chronic diseases as an increasing cause of disability and death among aging populations across the region. Drug resistant infectious agents; an inadequate food and drug safety system; and the emigration of health personnel undermine the region’s efforts to promote disease surveillance and prepare for emergencies. By updating its foreign assistance health priorities for Latin America and the Caribbean; expanding technical cooperation activities; and working with host countries, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other partners to reach underserved communities, the United States can better promote health, security, development, and good will in the region.