Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Republic of Paraguay
  • Gained independence from Spain on May 14, 1811
  • Location:  Central South America, northeast of Argentina, southwest of Brazil
  • Area:  157,048 sq. miles, slightly smaller than the state of California
  • Population:  6,541,591
  • Capital:  Asuncion (approx. 2 million people)
  • Climate:  subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west
  • Terrain:  grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay, Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
  • Nationaltiy:  Paraguayan
  • Ethnic groups:  mestizo (mixed Spanish and  Amerindian) 95%, others
  • Language:  Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
  • Religions:  Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, others
  • Literacy:  94% over the age of 15 can read and write
  • Economy:  A market economy distinguished by a large informal sector, featuring re-export of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries as well as the activities of thousands of micro-enterprises and urban street vendors.  A large percentage of the population depends on subsistence farming.
  • Current weather conditions –  www.weather.com
  • Tips for Travel in country – www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates –  www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • Paraguay’s government is a constitutional republic
  • Chief of State and Head of Government:  President Fernando Armindo Lugo Mendez – elected by popular vote

Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy:  76.4 years
  • Health expenditures:  7.1% of GDP
  • Physicians density:  1.11 physicians/1000 population
  • Hospital bed density:  1.36 beds/1000 population
  • HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:  0.3%
  • Many preventable diseases such as Chagas disease run rampant in rural areas
  • Parasitic and respiratory iseases drag down the overall health of the country
  • Malnutrition, lack of proper health care and poor sanitation are the root of many health problems[
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

        My first medical  mission trip:    In the following pages I will talk about my experiences on my first trip to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January 2010.   The biggest “first” is it was my first medical trip outside the United States.  I had done disaster relief for Hurricane […]


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