PAHO/Belize MOH hosts National Consultation on Universal Health Coverage

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

A group of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Social Security Board and Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and INCAP met at the Biltmore Hotel to discuss the document that is proposing four key strategies for the implementation of Universal Health Coverage in the Americas.

This meeting is responding to a mandate established by the Ministries of Health in 2013, to have a final proposal by September this year, during the Executive Committee. This activity is one of the milestones in the roadmap developed by the organization to have a joint proposal.

The meeting was organized in close collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the PAHO/WHO country office. During the meeting, the Head of the Planning Unit led the process as well as moderated some of the discussions.

The activity started with an explanation of Universal Health Coverage, its implication for the provision of health services in the country as well as its importance to be a common goal for different sectors and stakeholders to reach sustainable human development in any society. It was also mentioned its importance in the current the global discussions, mainly for the definition of the agreements of what could be the Post 2015 Agenda.

The importance of contributing actively in the discussion was highlighted to all participants since the results of the meeting were also to be presented to the Governing Bodies with a view to the production of a final document that should guide the future of the implementation of Universal Health Coverage in the region.

The day long activity involved group presentations and discussion along key strategic lines:

Strategic line 1: Expanding equitable access to comprehensive, quality, people- and community-centered health services.

Strategic line 2: Strengthening stewardship and governance.
Strategic line 3: Increasing and improving financing, promoting equity and efficiency, and eliminating out-of-pocket expenditure.

Strategic line 4: Strengthening intersectoral action to address the social determinants of health were thoroughly analysed, its practical implications for the country as well as the elements in which PAHO could support future implementation.

The main recommendations from all the discussions were directed toward empowerment and the sustainability of communities to participate in universal health coverage as well as the need to have a clear strategy on how to monitor and evaluate progress. It is well understood that there is not a numerical goal, like in the MDGs, and thus there is a risk in not being able to measure progress. There have been clear and specific requests to PAHO/WHO to support the country efforts to increase current coverage and this information will be shared in the country report.

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