Women's and Children's Health

Date: 1987
Owner: National Library of Medicine
Source Type: Images


This poster was published by the Uruguayan Ministry of Public Health, one of the many state-sponsored health organizations that sprang up throughout Latin America based on the infrastructure first created by the Pan American Sanitary Bureau. The headline tells parents that "Vaccinating your child is obligatory, for law and for love."

Infant care, however, was not one of the initial emphases of the PASB. According to historian Francesca Miller, it was Latin American women who were responsible for forwarding important measures regarding maternal and infant health, both in Latin America and, to a large degree, in the United States. Latin American women began presenting papers on "social problems" like hygiene and child welfare at Latin American Scientific Congresses in the late nineteenth century and continued to do so at the first Pan American Scientific Congress in 1908 (held in Santiago, Chile). Women constituted 6% of the speakers at this congress and established a reputation as the leading advocates of such issues.

Due to the leadership of Latin American women, these Pan-American scientific meetings became forums at which educated women from throughout the Americas could convene and discuss issues that were relevant to them. The social and intellectual networks they forged allowed them to initiate the Pan American Conference on Women, which first met in Baltimore in 1922 and was the first hemispheric organization for the advancement of women. This Pan American community was an early example of how science can act as a catalyst for social development. In fact, an Argentine woman, Dr. Mirta Roses-Periago, is the current director of the Pan American Health Organization.

Reference: Miller, Francesca. "The International Relations of Women of the Americas, 1890-1928." In The Americas, vol. 43, no. 2 (Oct., 1986), pp. 171-182.

CITATION: Vacunar su hijo es obligatorio por ley y por amor. United States National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Order #: A025886.