Parliamentarians and PAHO agree to act urgently to achieve laws that support the digital transformation of the health sector

13 Nov 2020
Photo by GameofLight
13 Nov 2020

While COVID-19 causes disruptions and challenges in health systems around the world, the Health Commissions of the Parliaments of the Americas together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) work hard to make digital transformation a sustainable reality in the post-pandemic.

Buenos Aires, November 13, 2020 (PAHO). Parliamentarians of the Americas and PAHO have discussed and agreed today on the need to have laws prepared to ensure the generation and use of critical data for a better response to the pandemic, as well as to be able to understand and act on the effect known as “Infodemic "Which has generated" a pandemic within the pandemic ", as expressed by Senator Mario Fiad, President of the Health Commission of the Senate of the Argentine Nation, during the event.

Since June 2015, at the initiative of the Health and Population Commission of the Congress of the Republic of Peru and with the support of PAHO, the Health Commissions of the Parliaments of the Americas have met annually with the vision of creating a space for knowledge, analysis and exchange of experiences on topics of interest in health legislation; identify common critical aspects that affect the quality of life of the continent's population; and strengthen the capacities of parliamentarians in the preparation and approval of legal frameworks in accordance with public policies that allow the full exercise of the right to health.

Scene from Zoom meeting

"The pandemic has had devastating effects on health services and, in particular, on populations in vulnerable situations, however, information and communication technologies present us with an unprecedented opportunity to leave no one behind," he said. Dr. Sebastián García Saisó, Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health of PAHO.

In recent years, considerable progress has been made in the adoption of information and communication technologies for the benefit of the health sector; however, the speed of this process was not directly proportional to the updating of the necessary legal instruments. "It is important to bear in mind that the great technological advances, mainly those that must be assimilated very quickly, produce important challenges, and often unprecedented, for health law," said Deputy Yedlin during the session. On the other hand, Dr. Ignacio Ibarra, PAHO advisor for health legislation, highlighted the importance of normative instruments accompanying the digital transformation processes, ensuring the principles of law but also ensuring that new barriers do not arise for the speed required by this new era called "Interdependence Digital".

Finally, all the participants of the event agreed that if they can understand the challenges associated with access to critical data and support this process with modern regulatory instruments, it will be possible to improve the functioning of health systems, as well as the formulation of informed public policies like never before. before in the history of mankind.

"Legislation to improve informed decisions and consider health data as global public goods should be one of the critical factors for success," Garcia said in the closing remarks.

Scene from Zoom meeting

The event featured keynote presentations by Rafael Lozano, Director of Health Systems at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, United States; Bruno Mario, President of the Argentine Society of Medical Journalism; Felipe Mena Medina, PAHO International Consultant and Professor in Infodemic Issues, University of Heidelberg, Germany; Dr. Leonid Lecca, Director of the civil society organization Partners in Health, Professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health and Marcelo DAgostino, PAHO Advisor for Information Systems and Digital Health. The last virtual session of this year will take place on December 4.

The closing was in charge of the Deputy Pablo Raúl Yedlin, President of the Commission of Social Action and Public Health, Honorable Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Nation and Senator Mario Raymundo Fiad, President of the Health Commission of the Honorable Senate of the Nation of Argentina, who are the hosts of the VI Congress of Health Commissions of the Americas, of which PAHO is the technical secretariat.

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