The goal of any State is to enable its inhabitants to have the longest, healthiest life possible. In a country with a well-functioning health system, premature deaths (under the age of 75) can often be avoided either through early public health interventions or treated if the diseases or other conditions have already developed. Although advancements in public health have helped to extend life in many parts of the Region, more than 2.5 million people in the Americas still died prematurely in 2019. This chapter highlights the biggest challenges countries face and the recommendations for policies and actions that are proven to save lives.
In recent years, countries in the Americas Region have experienced significant improvements in health outcomes with decreases in potentially preventable premature death. Although the performance of the health system is not exclusively responsible, the information in this chapter shows that guaranteed access to health services and universal health coverage play a fundamental role.