Webinar series on Essential Public Health Functions
Webinar series on Essential Public Health Functions
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, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (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.
Webinar series target audience
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
Webinar calendar *
Comprehensive Essential Public Health Functions training strategy for health systems strengthening (22 April, 2022)
As part of the webinar series on the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF) organized by PAHO, this first webinar of the year aims to introduce the training strategies that PAHO will develop to strengthen the institutional capacities of countries, as well as to present the launch of the renewed conceptual framework document of the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF) in Portuguese, which is added to the versions already available in Spanish and English. The renewed EPHF is part of the stewardship functions of health authorities to strengthen and transform health systems towards universal health. This proposal responds to the public health challenges in our region and is framed by PAHO's regional strategy of universal access to health and universal health coverage as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
As part of the webinar series on the essential public health functions (EPHF), organized by PAHO and in the framework of Universal Health Day, this webinar seeks to highlight the important country experiences gained during the strengthening and evaluation exercise of the EPHF.
As part of the series of seminars on the essential public health functions, organized by PAHO, this webinar will address issues related to Right to health, social participation and the strengthening of the EPHF. The objective is to highlight the important experiences of social participation in health in the Region of the Americas, to generate a space for reflection and debate on the new challenges that arise for participation in the current context, and to promote social participation as a key element in strengthening the EPHF, adding community organizations and civil society to this effort.
As part of the webinar series on the essential public health functions (EPHF), organized by PAHO/HSS and within the framework of the Strategy and Plan of Action to improve the quality of care in health service delivery 2020 -2025 of PAHO / WHO, Webinar 4 will address the challenges and opportunities to achieve a common goal: the quality of care in the delivery of health services, with a particular focus on "Safe maternal and newborn care", in connection with the celebration of world patient safety day that is observed every September 17th.
In addition, on this occasion and in connection with the celebration of World Patient Safety Day, which is observed every September 17, the topic selected for World Patient Safety Day 2021 is 'Safe maternal and neonatal care', due to the significant burden of risks and harm to which women and newborns are exposed when they receive unsafe care during childbirth. Despite the significant progress made in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3 are still far from being achieved.
The problem has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the disruption of essential health services due to broken supply chains, barriers to accessing care and a shortage of qualified healthcare professionals. Since maternity care is also affected by issues of gender equity and violence, women's experiences during childbirth can be positive and empowering or in other cases inflict emotional damage and trauma.
The new perspective of the EPHF, the new quality paradigm and the renewed focus on patient safety underscore the need to integrate efforts to overcome the traditional fragmentation and lack of coordination of interventions. That is why in this opportunity we will discuss with experts and representatives of all the sectors involved, about the experiences in improving the quality and safety of maternal and neonatal care, but from the new framework and proposed stages to achieve integrated public health policies: assessment, policy development, resource allocation and access.
As part of the series of seminars on the essential public health functions, organized by PAHO/HSS, this webinar will address issues related to the "policy development" stage, with the objective of deepening the debate on policy formulation processes with a comprehensive and integrative perspective that includes individual, collective and social determinants of health, and an analysis that allows the recognition of the progress and challenges of legislative and regulatory frameworks that facilitate this approach with a perspective of health as a fundamental human right.
To improve public health, health authorities need to evaluate the health status of their communities, identify variations in health status, and analyze the factors contributing to poor health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health systems globally, revealing that even robust health systems can be rapidly overwhelmed and compromised by an outbreak.
Against the evolving situation, many countries are facing challenges in the availability of accurate and timely data on the capacities of health systems to ensure access to comprehensive health services and COVID-19 tools.
To this end, it is necessary to strengthen assessment capacities for monitoring and evaluation of health systems performance and policies, and health research.
Through this event which calls for action, we will be discussing two new knowledge products:
PAHO’s monitoring framework for universal health, a tool to inform health system policies that protect everyone
Key results from the 2021 essential health services pulse survey, demonstrating the intersection between universal health and COVID-19
James Fitzgerald, Director of Health Systems and Services (PAHO/WHO) PAHO’s monitoring framework for universal health and results from National Pulse Survey
Kathryn O’Neill, Unit Head, Health services performance assessment, Integrated Health Services, UHC for the Life Course (WHO). Senior Advisor, Health Analysis, Equity Metrics and Evidence (PAHO) Equity-oriented monitoring in the context of universal health
Sebastian Garcia Saiso . Director of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (PAHO/WHO). Equity-oriented monitoring in the context of universal health
Amalia Del Riego, Unit Chief of Services and Access Unit (PAHO/WHO) Closing remarks
This publication offers general guidelines for technical units of national health authorities, which may adapt them according to their own context and needs. The proposed activities could be implemented in an integrated manner with the technical cooperation work of the Pan American Health Organization and related tools developed to strengthen capacities for monitoring, evaluation, and analysis of transformation processes of health systems to advance toward universal health in the Region of the Americas.
As COVID-19 has highlighted, some people are able to have better access to health services than others – mainly due to numerous barriers that hamper access to needed health services. All over the world, some groups have little or no access to quality and comprehensive 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 health system strengthening policies need to be responsive to barriers to health services among vulnerable population groups. To help countries in the Americas achieve universal health, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (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.
In that regard, the Department of Health Systems and Services (HSS) is organizing a webinar aimed to strengthen regional awareness around the need to identify access barriers and design health system policies that are responsive to the obstacles faced by vulnerable population groups.
Urge leaders to monitor inequities in access barriers, and to 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.
Speakers and topics
Jarbas Barbosa. Assistant Director, PAHO/WHO
James Fitzgerald. Director of Health Systems and Services, PAHO/WHO
Natalia Houghton, Specialist on Health Systems and Services Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation, PAHO/WHO Access barriers that hinder the achievement of universal health in the Americas: situation and public policy implications.