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ECLAC bets on universal access to health systems in the region

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The interim executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Mario Cimoli, stated this Wednesday that the body is working so that the States of the region guarantee access to health systems in favor of development and equality.

During the international seminar, “International learning and lessons to move towards universal, comprehensive and sustainable health systems”, the director of the regional organization emphasized “you cannot grow with high productivity, global competitiveness and social inclusion if the population cannot access quality health care”.

“This is what we mean when we talk about the inefficiency of inequality,” said Cimoli, who also stressed that it is essential that States raise abundant resources that can finance universal, comprehensive, sustainable and resilient systems.

With a commitment to guarantee and strengthen primary health care, various personalities presented criteria on these guidelines at the meeting held in Santiago, Chile.

The Minister of Health of Chile, María Begoña Yarza, stated that we cannot talk about development if we do not talk about health, and stated that in the Chilean context, health depends on people’s ability to pay, so one of the challenges primary goals of the reform in process is to put an end to the existing structural inequity and move towards a universal health system.

For her part, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne, remarked that “the data is clear: the region of the Americas reports the highest number of cases of Covid-19 and the highest number of deaths. Our public health infrastructure was not prepared and our health systems were fragmented, segmented and underfunded”.

In this regard, the official indicated that “the time has come to substantially transform our health systems, a transformation that must be guided by an exhaustive analysis of the performance of these systems during the pandemic and be based on the principle that everyone in this region has the right to to health”.

Figures offered by ECLAC indicate that public spending on health in Latin America and the Caribbean corresponds to 3.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), far from the recommendation of 6 percent of GDP of the World Health Organization. Health (WHO).

“In the same vein, 32.2 percent of total health spending in the region corresponds to out-of-pocket household spending (compared to 21 percent in countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -OECD), with a third of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean with a share of out-of-pocket spending greater than 40 percent of total spending, which exposes the population to critical situations of financial vulnerability, particularly in the face of the sum of crises that the region (economic, health and social)”, highlighted a note issued by ECLAC.

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