Washington, DC, 21 April 2017 (PAHO/WHO) -In the framework of the 2017 Annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Financing Forum, organized by USAID and the World Bank, held on April 20-21, 2017 in Washington, D.C., the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) coordinated a panel on "Efficiency for Universal health in the Americas". The purpose of the panel was to contribute to the development of a policy framework on health systems efficiency in the Americas.

The annual UHC Forum focuses on health financing actions to facilitate the path towards UHC. This year, the Forum highlighted strategic policies and practical interventions to support governments in making the most efficient use of health system resources, discussing various experiences of health systems' reforms and transformations. In this sense, the panel focused on discussing aspects of financing that resulted in efficiency improvements in selected countries of the Region.

During the presentation of Turks and Caicos Islands' case study, Rufus Ewing commented on the transformation of the health system after the implementation of a national health insurance and the establishment of a single payer that promoted the expansion of coverage and access through the strengthening of the first level of care.

Natalia Yavich, who presented the Argentine case study, explained the way in which different models of organization of health services generated efficiency and equity gains in terms of reduced costs, improvements in continuity of care, and better access according to differentiated needs in an Argentine province.

Miguel A. González-Block presented the Mexican case study and explained how the adoption of strategic purchasing mechanisms as part of the "Seguro Popular" in Mexico strengthened the expansion of coverage and access to a defined package of benefits for the poorest population.

The first version of the Forum, held in 2016, focused on revenue generation, and how to raise funds to meet the needs and demands of the population for quality health services with financial protection, key components of UHC. Building on last year's topic, the second Forum focused on strategies for using available resources more efficiently.