“We know how to eliminate many childhood diseases and improve nutrition. The problem is reaching those who are in need, which is often a matter of money. The Foundation is expert at putting money to work where it’s most needed.”

Dr. Malden Nesheim, PAHEF Trustee; Provost Emeritus, Cornell University in New York

Make A Difference » Priority Programs 

Indigenous People's Fund

Together we can improve the health of indigenous communities and strive for health equity

Forty-five (45) million indigenous people belonging to more than 400 distinct ethnic groups live in 24 countries in the Americas. This multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual population includes some of the hemisphere’s poorest people. Many factors – social, cultural and spiritual - underlie the health inequities in these communities.

Indigenous people have faced tremendous adversity throughout history, and have struggled to ensure their rights. The link between poverty, illiteracy, limited access to basic services, and greater risk of disease and death is undeniable.

Health challenges:
  • Infant and maternal mortality rates among the highest in the Americas.
  • 40% are without regular access to health care.
  • Limited access to safe water, food and sanitation.
  • Higher mortality of adults and children and greater morbidity from preventable illnesses as nutritional deficiencies, diarrhea, respiratory problems and vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • High rates of discontinuation of TB treatment.
  • Increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Life expectancy 10 to 20 years less than for the general population.
Public health interventions proven to be effective in the general population are often ineffective in indigenous communities. Operations research is needed to make these proven interventions culturally appropriate. And, policies and communications need to be more sensitive to indigenous cultures.

Click here to read a recent article about "the tragedy of the indigenous Miskito population of the Atlantic coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras" that "makes clear the serious lack of sanitation faced by these people as they continue their underwater fishing for lobsters in deplorable conditions."

Indigenous people need your help in their struggle for health access and equity.

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