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Health officials in the Caribbean discuss the transformation of health systems

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Posted: Monday, August 15, 2022. 10:25 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Health officials participating in the seminar entitled, “Challenges to move towards universal, comprehensive, and sustainable health systems: lessons from an international perspective” hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that it is time to transform the Caribbean health systems, Loop reports.

The seminar featured remarks by Mario Cimoli, acting ECLAC executive secretary; María Begoña Yarza, Minister of Health of Chile; and Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 

Cimoli emphasized the importance of universal access to health systems in moving towards development with equality in the region.

“Growth with high productivity, global competitiveness, and social inclusion is not possible if the population cannot access quality health care. That is what we are referring to when we talk about the inefficiency of inequality,” Cimoli stated.

“States’ capacity to raise enough resources to finance universal, comprehensive, sustainable, and resilient systems is key to carrying out the reforms needed in the region, one of the pillars of which must be strengthening primary health care,” he added.

Data from ECLAC showed that public spending on health in Latin America and the Caribbean amounts to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), far below the 6 percent of GDP recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Health and social protection systems must be at the center of sustainable development strategies, which means that it is critical to consolidate a social compact centered on rights and equality, linked to a progressive fiscal compact that would guarantee the financial sustainability of health systems and that would move towards a welfare state,” ECLAC urged.

 

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