|[Preface]. H e a lth C o n d itio n s in th e A m erica s, 1990 edition, is the tenth publication in a series o f quadrennial reports issued since 1954 as a way to document the health progress attained by the Member Governments o f the Pan American Health Organization. This publication also presents to the XXIII Pan American Sanitary Conference an assessment o f the health status o f the Region’s population in terms o f the goal o f health for all by the year 2000. This report does not include technical cooperation activities conducted between PAHO and its Member Governments; those activities are presented to this Conference in the R e p o rt o f th e D irecto r, Q u a d re n n ia l 1 9 8 6—1 9 8 9 , A n n u a l 1 9 8 9 . As did previous publications in this series, this edition responds to the varied interests o f many different users. It offers Member Governments and the Governing Bodies o f PAHO information on the major health trends in the Region as a whole and in each one o f the countries. In addition, it serves as a reference source for national and international organizations and for students, researchers, and health workers in the countries. The 1990 edition’s two volumes present information mainly for the 1985—1988 period. The first volume reports on health conditions from a regional perspective and comprises three parts and a statistical annex. The first part deals with the overall context: it describes some o f the Region’s political, economic, and social trends; the main demographic characteristics; and an overview o f mortality and environmental health. The second part explores health conditions in the Region, focusing on children, adults, the elderly, and women, and health problems that affect the population in general. The third part, which examines the health systems infrastructure, describes the health sector’s response to the problems that have been identified and reports on the environmental health infrastructure in terms o f water supply and sewerage, urban sanitation, environmental pollution, and occupational health. The annex to this volume is a compilation o f the most up-to-date statistical data available, which supplement information published in previous reports and serve to document the text. The second volume summarizes the health conditions and infrastructure in each o f the Region’s countries; its analysis by subject area follows the organization o f the first volume. Data from many official and semiofficial sources were used to assemble both volumes. Despite every effort made to reconcile this information, not all discrepancies could be eliminated, and some o f these may warrant concern. Nonetheless, we firmly believe in the importance o f this information, and we are convinced that its wider use will be the best incentive for generating, processing, and analyzing increasingly pertinent, valid, and timely data.