Universal access to health moves forward in the regional agenda
26 septiembre 2018

Between the 23rd and 27th September, Ministries of Health from the Americas will take part of the 56° Directive Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), with the aim of establishing the priorities and courses of action in order to address the health challenges faced by the region. During the first days of the meeting, the PAHO Director presented the Annual Report 2018 which, focusing on the strengthening of the Primary Health Care, urges governments to increase the governance and political will to finance access to health. It is expected that governments will set technical cooperation priorities in the run-up to the World Conference on Primary Health Care, to be held in Kazakhstan from 25-27 October 2018.

PAHO’s annual report, which covers the period from August 2017 to June 2018, emphasizes that while progress has been made in recent years in the area of health, the region faces challenges that may jeopardize the gains made. Against this backdrop, PAHO argues that the region must promote and protect health, removing obstacles to access and enabling government action through intersectorial and multisectorial work in promoting the cause. In addition, the document states that the primary health care approach requires fair financing mechanisms, information systems, access to drugs, and safe, appropriate and effective technologies.

During the last months, health access has been part of the regional agenda. On the one hand, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that his government will allocate 200 million dollars for the implementation of the universal free health insurance in the next administration. One of his priorities is attention to pediatric cancer. On the other hand, Argentina, considers Universal Health Coverage one of the important points of its 2019 budget. At the same time, Ecuador is working on the structural reform of the system to implement the Organic Health Code, which seeks to consolidate health rights. Finally, the Chilean Minister of Health, Emilio Santelices, stated that the agenda of the 56th Directive Council of PAHO is in line with the axis of its government program.