Authorities from the Region shared their experiences on the process of measuring and strengthening the EPHFs

16 Dec 2021
Mujer lavando ropa

Sixth meeting of the Essential Public Health Functions Webinar Series in the framework of Universal Health Day 2021

Washington, D.C., December 10 2021 (PAHO)- As part of the webinar series on the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF), organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the sixth and last meeting of the year 2021 took place to celebrate Universal Health Day 2021. The activity focused on the progress made by the countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean that have made the commitment to use the new conceptual and methodological approach as part of the exercise of applying the tool to evaluate and strengthen EPHF capacities.

This event brought together health authorities from eight countries in the Region implementing the EPHF exercise, who explained how the process incorporates a great diversity of social actors and institutional sectors, guaranteeing an intersectoral, broad, and pluralistic approach.

Natalia Houghton, Specialist in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Analysis of Health Systems at PAHO, explained the dynamics of the day and was responsible for summarizing each of the interventions of the panelists. Ernesto Báscolo, Advisor on Governance, Leadership, Policy, and Planning in Health at PAHO, presented the new proposal for the essential public health functions and commented on how stewardship and governance are integrated with the methodological approach to the EPHF, highlighting the leadership of the health authorities in the exercise of the EPHF.

The seminar was divided into three subregional panels that presented the experiences in their countries. The first panel, representing South America, was integrated by Luis Robles Guerrero, Advisor to the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health of Peru, and Germán Crespo, Director of Planning of the Ministry of Health and Sports of Bolivia, participated. 

The second panel was integrated by Central American countries with the participation of Carlos Alvarenga, Vice-Minister of Health Management and Development, Ministry of Health of El Salvador, Pedro González Morera, Vice-Minister of Health from the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica, and Ricardo Melgen, current Director of Population Health Management at the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance in the Dominican Republic.

In the third panel, the Caribbean countries were represented by Cherita Moxey, an official of the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Bahamas, Rakesh Gajadhar Sukul, Director of Health of the Ministry of Health of Suriname, and finally Hazel Laws, Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Finally, Amalia Del Riego, Chief of the Health Services and Access Unit at PAHO, highlighted the great value of learning about the approaches that have been implemented to adopt the methodology for evaluating and strengthening EPHFs, as well as their challenges and their potential. Finally, she emphasized the renewal of PAHO/WHO's commitment to accompany these processes and provide the technical support required by the countries. 

For more information on the EPHF webinar series that has been held throughout the year, click here.