PAHO launches new regional compact on primary health care for the Caribbean

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PAHO launches new regional compact on primary health care for the Caribbean

Sunday, April 14, 2019

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has launched the “Regional Compact on Primary Health Care for Universal Health: PHC 30-30-30”.

PAHO said this compact establishes goals to eliminate barriers to health access, and to increase funding by 30 per cent to the first level of care by 2030.

The presentation of the compact was made here following the launch of the report of the High-level Commission “Universal Health in the XXI Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata”.

The report emphasizes that achieving health for all “will only be possible by ensuring the right to health, models of care that are based on PHC (primary health care), care that is centered on the needs of people, effective financing, multisectoral collaboration and social participation”.

PAHO Director, Dr Carissa F Etienne, said that “without such resources, we can never respond to the diverse health needs of people and the community.

“Without a comprehensive first level of care, and the participation of the community in all aspects of its governance, we can never realise the promise of Primary Health Care,” she stressed. “And without a strong first level of care, we can never achieve Universal Health in the Americas.”

The goals that PAHO proposes that countries commit themselves to achieving include: Reducing, by at least 30 per cent, the barriers that hinder access to health by 2030; and allocating at least 30 per cent of the entire public health budget to the first level of care by 2030.

Likewise, PAHO said the compact calls for the transformation of health systems towards “equitable, comprehensive and inclusive health care models based on primary care”.

“The development of care models based on PHC, with intersectoral actions, and with the necessary human, financial and technological resources, is fundamental to eliminate inequities and achieve universal health in the Region,” said Dr James Fitzgerald, Director of the Health Systems and Services Department at PAHO.

Currently, it is estimated that 30 per cent of the population of the Americas lacks access to the health care they need, according to PAHO.

It said the barriers that prevent such access include financial, geographical, institutional, social and cultural, “which constitute the main impediments to equity, health and development in the 21st Century”.

On average, PAHO said countries of the region invest 4.2 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in health, less than the six per cent minimum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Of that percentage, PAHO said countries allocate an average of 26 per cent of their health budgets to the first level of care.

The new PHC 30-30-30 Compact for Universal Health is its immediate response to the 10 recommendations of the Universal Health Commission in the 21st Century, and a call to PAHO member-states to “accelerate the regional response to achieve health for all in line with the (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)”.

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