The report notes that the average percentage of interrupted services increased slightly from 44% in 2020 to 46% in 2021 indicating that health systems in the Americas still face significant challenges almost two years into the pandemic.
Washington DC, October 25, 2021 (PAHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has announced the results of the Second Round of the National Pulse Survey on Continuity of Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event aimed to share the experiences of some countries from the Region of the Americas in implementing actions to strengthen health systems and ensure continuity of services during the current health crisis. One of the highlights was the urgency of intensifying the work in the countries so that the provision of services continues with the same intensity as the actions taken to control COVID-19 cases. Establishing a participatory approach and relations with community leaders and agents facilitated the implementation of mitigation measures.
This is a joint effort with the World Health Organization (WHO) with the purpose of monitoring interruptions in the provision of essential health services regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Two rounds of continuity surveys have been developed: the first one, in 2020 and the second one during this year, to assess the magnitude and extent of such interruptions.
It was established from countries’ behaviors that the average percentage of interrupted services increased slightly, going from 44% in 2020 to 46% in 2021. This report shows that the health systems still face significant challenges almost two years into the pandemic.
On the other hand, it was evident from the report that the magnitude and extent of disruptions in the provision of essential health services persist since 2020 and have even increased in some areas. In other areas, the scale of disruption has been significantly reduced, and efforts to respond to health systems challenges, bottlenecks, and barriers to access caused or exacerbated by the pandemic have been intensified in almost all countries.
PAHO and WHO will continue to support countries in closing gaps that persist in the delivery of health services continue responding to the constant changes in priorities and needs throughout the pandemic, and ensure that strategies to control COVID-19 are balanced with other health priorities which ensure continued access to comprehensive services in this area.
The information of the countries on the 2nd round of the National Essential Health Services survey is available here.