PAHO's Deputy Director, Isabella Danel, is participating the World Economic Forum on Latin America this week in São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo, March 15, 2018 (PAHO/WHO) - Achieving equitable access for all people to medicines and other health technologies is the real health care revolution. If technological development in health care fails to translate into greater access to health services, inequality will continue to grow in the Americas region, said Isabella Danel, Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in São Paulo, Brazil.

"Guaranteeing access to health services is good for people and for economies. More healthy people means healthier economies, too, "said Danel. "This is one of PAHO's priorities: working with countries and partners in the region to ensure universal health," she said while participating in a panel.

Directora Adjunta de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) al participar en el Foro Económico Mundial sobre América Latina en São Paulo, Brasil

Innovations and new health technologies have improved health in the Americas dramatically over the last 30 years. Diseases such as poliomyelitis, rubella, and measles were eliminated by making vaccines accessible to all, explained PAHO's Deputy Director. However, in the American region, where 30% of the population does not have access to health care, the principal challenge is health inequality. "That is why it is key to introduce the concept of equity into the debate on innovation and technology in health," Danel stressed.

 "Innovation and new technologies are useful tools for improving health care, if they are authentic and cost-effective in ensuring access for all" to services, said Danel, who shared the panel on the subject with the governor of the State of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, among others.

Examples of innovations and technology being applied toward improving people's health include a telemedicine service in Bolivia that provides health care to people living in remote areas; PAHO's Revolving Fund for vaccines and its Strategic Fund for medicines, both of which help countries in the region purchase supplies at affordable prices; and SMART hospitals, which are hospitals designed to continue working after disaster strikes.

The Deputy Director of PAHO added that to ensure new technologies and medicines reach everyone it is necessary for organizations, countries, and partners to work together to improve the region's ability to achieve universal health.

PAHO can strengthen member countries' ability to evaluate technology and facilitate technologies that improve health care, providing them cost-effectively on a large scale and accessible to everyone without discrimination, Danel stressed.