PAHO says innovations can make quality healthcare accessible in C'bean

Sunday, March 18, 2018

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SÃO PAULO, Brazil (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says achieving equitable access for all people to medicines and other health technologies is “the real health care revolution,” stating that health care can make quality care accessible and affordable in the Americas, including the Caribbean.

In addressing the World Economic Forum on Latin America in São Paulo, Brazil, Isabella Danel, PAHO's deputy director, said if technological development in health care fails to translate into greater access to health services, inequality will continue to grow in the region.

“Guaranteeing access to health services is good for people and for economies,” she said. “More healthy people means healthier economies, too.

“This is one of PAHO's priorities: working with countries and partners in the region to ensure universal health,” she added while participating in a panel.

Danel said innovations and new health technologies have improved health in the Americas dramatically over the last 30 years.

She said diseases such as poliomyelitis, rubella, and measles were eliminated by making vaccines accessible to all.

But the PAHO deputy director said, in the region, where 30 percent of the population does not have access to health care, the principal challenge is health inequality.

“That is why it is key to introduce the concept of equity into the debate on innovation and technology in health,” Danel stressed.

“Innovation and new technologies are useful tools for improving health care, if they are authentic and cost-effective in ensuring access for all” to services, added Danel, who shared the panel on the subject with the governor of the State of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, among others.

PAHO said examples of innovations and technology being applied toward improving people's health include a telemedicine service in Bolivia that provides health care to people living in remote areas; PAHO's Revolving Fund for vaccines and its Strategic Fund for medicines, both of which help countries in the region purchase supplies at affordable prices; and SMART hospitals, which are hospitals designed to continue working after disaster strikes.

Danel said, in ensuring new technologies and medicines reach everyone, it is necessary for organisations, countries and partners to work together to improve the region's ability to achieve universal health.

She said PAHO can strengthen member-countries' ability to evaluate technology and facilitate technologies that improve health care, providing them cost-effectively on a large scale and accessible to everyone without discrimination.

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