“How do we build the health of the future?” That was both the event slogan and the question being posed to executives from some of Argentina’s most prominent public and private institutions during the American Chamber’s Health Forum on Wednesday.
The meeting was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Retiro, with more than 400 attendees and 25 participating organisations who addressed such topics as public health policies; universal coverage and access; perspectives on the future of care; the perspectives of patient associations; current and future care models; comprehensive health legislation; and investment in research and development.
The event was opened with remarks by Alejandro Díaz, CEO of AmCham Argentina, who welcomed the attendees and remarked that “for more than seven years, we have been developing this space for public-private dialogue to jointly identify how to face the challenges of sustainability, and to promote the development of the health system of our country.”
In the subsequent panel, CGT Secretary General and healthcare worker union boss Héctor Daer stressed the importance of investing in innovation: “The development of medical technology is exponential in scientific and economic terms. It must be adapted to a model that generates sustainability and produces scientific conditions and benefits in a realistic framework. Yes, we aspire to have universal health and an equitable and sustainable system, the great challenge is how it is financed and addresses issues with solidarity.”
Deputies Mónica Fein, Graciela Ocaña and Rossana Chahla also emphasised the importance of creating equitable solutions in the domain of healthcare.
Fein insisted that the current system is inequitable and that policymakers must "seek agreements, consensus, and have political action to ensure guidelines point to a progressive reformation."
Similarly, Ocaña added calls for transparency and oversight: "It is essential that we have this discussion in front of all the actors and that it is not only a private reform of a sector, but rather a collective construction.”
In turn, Chahla reiterated the right of all Argentines to quality healthcare: “Thirty-two years ago, I was told that the health system is fragmented. We all agree that we need a large transformation. Argentina is one of the countries that has the most accessibility to the system, however, we lack integration. The state must be a guarantor because health is a right."
During a panel on government policy featuring Nicolás Kreplak, Health Minister for Buenos Aires Province, the official highlighted some of the geographic challenges to providing care: "In the Province of Buenos Aires, we are building programmes based on attention to where one lives because we saw that preventive care is not always universal. Through different policies, we are working on a reform of the system based on three pillars: government decision-making capacity, digitisation and unification of integrated information systems, and a communal style of care based on prevention."
AmCham, a non-profit organisation committed to promoting trade and bilateral investment between the United States and Argentina, is headed by its honorary president, US Ambassador Marc Stanley.
Accordingly, Abigail L. Dressel, deputy chief of the US mission in Argentina, closed out the event with words of praise for the strong relationship between the nations on the file of public health: “US researchers have a long history of collaboration with their Argentine counterparts. I am happy to share that this cooperation continues to grow."