Assessing access barriers to achieve Universal health in the era of COVID-19
All over the world and particularly in our region, different population groups have little or no access to comprehensive and quality health services, mainly due to numerous barriers that prevent them from using needed health services. This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death, and it harms our societies and economies.
The goal of Universal health can only be achieved if existing barriers to health needs are identified and addressed, and for this, health system strengthening policies need to be responsive to barriers to access to health services among vulnerable population groups.
To help countries in the Americas achieve Universal health, the PAHO/WHO launched the Regional Compact on Primary Health Care for Universal Health: PHC 30-30-30, which highlights the central role of PHC and the need to eliminate barriers to access.
Oriented to the academic community from Public Health Schools and PAHO collaborating centers, technical officers from national health authorities and institutions, PAHO and WHO professional staff from Country Offices, headquarters, and regional centers, this meeting aims to:
• Urge the Region’s public health leaders to monitor inequities and their relationship with barriers to access to health.
• Ensure that all people can access quality health services when and where they need them.
• Call for strengthening assessment of access barriers to progress towards universal health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Showcase best practices and methodological tools to evaluate access barriers and facilitate health policy development.
Panelists discussed how different country experiences have shed light on effective solutions, critical bottlenecks, and practical lessons to strengthen public health functions and impact health access and outcomes. In an even more challenging context, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a stark reminder and a call for collective action to strengthen public health actions and protect the most vulnerable.To support these efforts, PAHO/WHO promotes a renewed focus on the importance of Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF) in the Americas. This approach offers an opportunity to catalyze political commitment to ensure universal health, global health security, and more significant health equity in the Americas.
Links to interpretation recordings:
James Fitzgerald: Director of Health Systems and Services, PAHO/WHO
Jarbas Barbosa: Assistant Director, PAHO/WHO
Natalia Houghton: Specialist on Health Systems and Services Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation, PAHO/WHO
Theadora Swift Koller: Senior Technical Advisor on Equity, WHO
Frederico Guanais: Deputy Head of the Health Division, OECD
Ernesto Bascolo: Regional Advisor on Health Governance, Leadership, Policy and Planning, PAHO/WHO