Caribbean ministers agree to new plan to improve quality of health care

The Washington D.C. headquarters of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), where the 57th Directing Council was recently held. (Photo: Flickr)

Caribbean health ministers have endorsed a series of actions aimed at ensuring that all people throughout the Americas have equitable access to timely, efficient, safe, and quality health services.

The ministers are participating in the weeklong 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) where the Strategy and Plan of Action to Improve Quality of Care in Health Service Delivery 2020-2025, was adopted.

It sets out a people- and community-centred approach that focuses on overcoming persisting barriers to equitable access to quality care.

PAHO said health systems in the region of the Americas are characterized by high levels of segmentation and fragmentation that hinders access to quality health care services, compromises health outcomes, and results in the inefficient use of available resources.

“While countries of the Region have made progress to improve quality of care in health service delivery, mortality attributable to quality issues remains high,” said PAHO’s Dominica-born Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.

PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne (Photo: YouTube)

“This strategy represents a paradigm shift in how countries should approach health care and a move towards care that puts the experience of people and their communities first,” she said.

In 2007, PAHO member states adopted the Regional Policy and Strategy for Ensuring Quality of Health Care.

Since then, actions have been implemented to improve quality, including through the development of policies and quality standards, the establishment of national directorates responsible for quality, and standards for health facility licensing.

PAHO said despite these initiatives, however, population surveys in some countries show that 30% of people still lack access to preventive care and treatment, and of those who do receive such services, just 39 percent consider the quality of care to be good.