Washington DC, 9 October 2019 (PAHO/WHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) held the "Regional Workshop on Financial Protection in Health," from 7-9 October, in Washington DC, to address the technical and calculation details of the financial protection monitoring indicators so that participants can produce and use them as part of health policy formulation.
Financial protection is a key component of universal health that implies that all people are protected from possible financial difficulties when receiving the health services they need.
"At the meeting we analyzed the relationships between financial protection and public spending on health, so that the participants, from both the ministries of health and the statistical offices of the countries, better understand the conceptual aspects of financial protection and its indicators," said Camilo Cid, Advisor on Health Financing and Economics at PAHO. "We want participants to be able to perform the basic calculations considering key aspects that are linked to the achievement of universal health and not just financing."
On the first day of the Workshop, attendees reflected on the link between financial protection, universal health, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in terms of health policies, and on the importance of measuring these indicators and informing them. This exercise was based on the report that the World Health Organization (WHO) presented in September during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the monitoring of the SDGs for financial protection in health.
During the second day, participants calculated the financial protection indicators, which include catastrophic expenditure and impoverishing expenditure, using existing databases from some countries or simulated databases for those who did not have such data. On the third day, the results obtained and their scopes were analyzed.
At the closing session, Amalia Del Riego, Head of the Access and Health Services Unit at PAHO, expressed her gratitude for "the effort and commitment that the participating countries have put into this Workshop that has allowed us to learn more about the reality of the Sub-region in terms of financing and health systems."
"At PAHO, we express our willingness to support countries and territories in the process of building financial protection indicators in a systematic way that allows us to obtain data that influence decision making and policy formulation to create and strengthen health systems focused on people and communities," she added.
After three working days, participants recognized the importance and usefulness of incorporating data analysis and timely reporting of results for policy development for the transformation and strengthening of health systems in the Caribbean.
Representatives from 16 countries and territories of the Caribbean attended the Workshop (Anguilla, Antigua y Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Belize, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago). This activity was the second meeting held on the subject. In March 2019, a first meeting was held with participants from 17 countries in Latin America.