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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over one billion people worldwide are facing a "critical shortage in health care." 

Half of the world's population and at least one quarter of the Latin American population live or work in rural areas. According to the WHO, there are less than two doctors for each 1,000 people in Latin America. Due to geographic isolation and lack of transportation, many residents cannot access a doctor at all. 

By contrast, many people living in Latin America choose to leave their rural communities in search of better economic, educational, or health opportunities in cities. The rapid urbanization of cities in Latin America has given rise to a separate host of problems, including improper sanitation, unhygienic living conditions, and a lack of basic amenities. These conditions make residents vulnerable to infections.

For the past several years, MEDLIFE has been working to bring basic health care services to urban slums outside of Lima (Peru), as well as rural areas of Cuzco (Peru), Tena (Ecuador) and Riobamba (Ecuador).

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 WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS IN LATIN AMERICA?

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Common Health Problems

- 250 million people in South America are suffering from a non-communicable disease, such as cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease

- Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women; rates of cervical cancer are highest in Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Melanesia and South-Central and South-East Asia.

Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, killing 1.5 million children a year.

Tuberculosis is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest infectious disease killer worldwide, and over 95% of TB deaths occur in low and middle income countries.

 

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 Access to Health Care

- According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region demonstrates the greatest disparities in income and in other socioeconomic determinants of health. 

- 274 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have health insurance.

120 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have access to basic health services for economic reasons.

- 107 million people lack access to health care for geographic reasons

- Of the 200 million poor in Latin America, an estimated 70% has no access to basic health services.  

  

* All statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).