VI Congress of the Health Committees of the Parliaments of the Americas

"Digital transformation to improve decisions in public health: opportunities and parliamentary challenges"

Virtual session 2020

Host: National Congress of Argentina

Third seminar: The digital revolution in health and the rights approach
​​​​​​​Date: December 4, 2020
Time:  11:00am to 2:00pm (Argentina time)
Seminars may also be viewed on YouTube

Congreso Nacional de la Nación Argentina - Foto de GameofLight

Who is participating 

Presidents and members of the Health Committees of the Congresses of: Argentina, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

Other invited participants

The Central American Parliament, the Andean Parliament, Mercosur Parliament, Technical Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of Central America and parliamentary groups such as the Parliamentary Front against Tuberculosis, the Parliamentary Front against Hunger, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group, the Hemispheric Network of Parliamentarians and former Parliamentarians for Early Childhood, among others.

The Ministries of Health and other government agencies of the countries of the Region.

For any questions or information about PAHO's activity in support of parliamentary health work in the Americas, you may contact Ignacio Ibarra, Regional Adviser on Health-Related Legislation, email


The first Congress of Commissions of Health of the Parliaments of the Americas took place in June 2015, at the initiative of the Health and Population Commission of the Congress of the Republic of Peru and with the support of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). Its objectives were generating a space for knowledge, analysis, and exchange of experiences on topics of interest in health; identifying common critical aspects that affect the quality of life of the continent's population; and strengthening 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.

Another underlying idea, which was consolidated in Panama, site of the second congress held in May 2016, was the promotion of a regional plan for the harmonization of health-related legislation in accordance with the international instruments and commitments of the countries, towards better access and universal health coverage. The proposal for the creation of a Network of Parliamentarians of the Health Commissions was discussed. It allows for closer links of permanent communication and exchange of legislation, plans, strategies and experiences with a favorable impact on the solution of problems that affect health.

In the third edition of the Congress, which happened in November 2017, in Santiago de Chile, a call was made to analyze the health challenges in the 21st century and the need to continue promoting the legislative work of the countries in a methodical and systematic way, with the objective of promoting the effective realization of the right to health, recognizing the great challenges that nations face given the diversity of conditioning factors that determine health, in particular risk factors.

In August 2018, in Montevideo, with the motto "Legislate in health as a tool for social inclusion", the Presidents of the Health Commissions and members of some other legislative commissions met to discuss three fundamental axes of public health: the regulatory approach to risk factors for noncommunicable diseases, focusing on frontal nutritional warning labeling and public regulation, and tobacco control.

The stewardship role of the national health authority was discussed, as well as the legislative advances of the reform of health systems on the road to universal health; the challenge of health at borders and migration; the commitment to end tuberculosis in the Americas; as well as the need for legal strengthening aimed at road safety. The third axis fostered the discussion on the assurance of sexual and reproductive rights in legislation, and early childhood development and early stimulation, based on parliamentary work.

The broad discussion agenda also favored debates on the migration of health professionals as a challenge for the parliamentary agenda and regional integration; formulas for the translation of health policies into national legislation, focusing on human rights; as well as the need to shield advances in health from changes in government.

Finally, in October 2019, in Tegucigalpa, topics discussed included climate change and environmental determinants of health, based on parliamentary work; the commitments of the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on tuberculosis; the essential public health functions at the service of the legislative agenda towards universal health, as well as the challenges and opportunities to strengthen health systems; the main effective regulatory measures to combat obesity and promote healthy eating and alcohol control, as a citizen's right. Likewise, the report on the launch in Paraguay of the Parliamentary Network for Road Safety in America, under the guidance of PAHO/WHO--which is the technical secretariat of the Network, was presented.

Overall objective 

Build a space for knowledge, analysis and exchange of experiences on topics of interest for the strengthening of health systems, developing the capacities of the countries in the preparation and approval of legal frameworks in accordance with public policies that allow the full exercise of the right to health and universal health coverage. 

Specific objectives  

  • Discuss the most relevant issues of public health and the advances of health legislation in a shared experience at the regional level;
  • Present experiences of legislation and regulatory frameworks on critical health issues focused on achieving access and universal health coverage;
  • Generate knowledge about the processes, good practices, and strategies that can be used successfully in the generation of homogeneous health legislation on common issues in the Americas;
  • Consolidate the configuration of the Network of Parliamentarians of the Health Commissions, its Work Plan for the following years and be able to develop multilateral cooperation agendas. 


This congress will continue the promotion of the exchange of experiences on health legislation through conferences, presentations and discussions that will be grouped in an agenda centered on a thematic axis that allows discussing the opportunities and challenges that are presented to the congressmen in the necessary digital transformation to improve decisions in public health, which will be divided into relevant panels that will be developed in three virtual sessions.

Each of the panels will have a series of conclusions and recommendations and will be moderated between legislators and the technical staff of the institutions convened.

The entire debate process will be carried out through remote communication tools and in three monthly sessions of 3 hours, in which all attendees can actively participate.

The debates will seek to analyze the most important legal / legislative challenges that favor the consolidation of universal, fair, inclusive, equitable, efficient health systems, with quality and warmth, but, above all, to identify the aspects of common problems, good practices regional and areas of opportunity in the environment of the new challenges and benefits of harmoniously updating health legislation in the face of emergencies and disasters within the context of an interconnected digital society and the adequate fulfillment of the right to health.

Firest seminar

Full information on the first seminar, "The main challenges and gaps in digital health legal instruments," may be found here.

Second seminar

Full information on the second seminar, "The Connectivity Agenda and Legislation," may be found here.

Next seminar

Third seminar: the digital revolution in health and the rights approach (December 4, 2020, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, Argentina time)

  • Open information (open data, open access and open source) and the challenges of privacy, cybersecurity and confidentiality
  • Creativity, the new challenges for intellectual property rights in health
  • Transparency in decision-making
  • Accountability