Washington, D.C., February 22, 2010 (PAHO/WHO) — Reforms currently being implemented in Colombia’s health care system draw heavily on the primary health care (PHC) model that is being promoted by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), said Colombia’s minister of health, Mauricio Santamaría Salamanca, in talks today at PAHO headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Santamaría said his country’s health reform law, which passed in January, emphasizes prevention and health promotion at the primary care level and shares the overarching goals and priorities of the primary health care model. He said funds are available to carry out the necessary changes in the system, and he called on PAHO/WHO to provide technical cooperation to support those changes.
“We want to achieve a health system that provides higher-quality services, that is more equitable, that is sustainable, and where the focus of all efforts is on the consumer,” he said.
Santamaría added that Colombia’s health reform effort also requires institutional strengthening through the reorganization of the Ministry of Social Protection into two entities, one focused on labor and the other on health. He said his ministry plans to seek PAHO/WHO’s advice on the reorganization as well as in other areas, including specialized training for health personnel.
Santamaría met today with PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses and other top officials. With a team of aides, he will be meeting today and tomorrow to exchange information and explore technical cooperation opportunities with representatives of PAHO/WHO areas including Family and Community Health, Health Systems and Services, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, Health Surveillance and Disease Prevention and Control, External Relations and Partnerships, Sustainable Development and Environmental Health, and Gender, Diversity and Human Rights, among others.
PAHO Director Dr. Roses said she hoped that PAHO/WHO’s collaboration on the reform effort would not only help Colombia but also yield valuable lessons about primary health care–based reform for other countries.
Photos: (PAHO/WHO David Spitz)
From the left: PAHO Deputy Director Dr. Jon Andrus; Minister Mauricio Santamaría; PAHO
Director Dr. Mirta Roses; and PAHO Assistant Director Dr. Socorro Gross.
For more information please contact Leticia Linn, Tel +1 202 974 3440 or Donna Eberwine-Villagrán, Media & Communication, PAHO/WHO, +202 974-3122.