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Washington, D.C., 12 June 2018 The High-level Commission "Universal Health in the 21st century: 40 years of Alma-Ata" meets to discuss progress and future actions in their workplan, including the preparation of the Commission's high-level report with recommendations for the Director of PAHO/WHO to guide the way forward to achieve access and health coverage for all by 2030.

Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and Chair of the Commission, said that "primary health care should be assumed as a strategy for transforming health systems through a change in the model of health care, people and community-centered, with a resolutive capacity of the first level of care, and with integrated health services networks".

In the report, the Commission is expected to propose recommendations on improving health systems performance, specially to respond to the needs of populations in situation of exclusion, and empowering communities and improving social participation in policymaking, especially for those policies that impact their health.

Regarding the recommendations, Bachelet said that "the focus must be on the policy framework, but also in a progressive view on the future", addressing conditions that affect access, especially for groups in situation of exclusion.

In addition, the members of the Commission stressed that the report should reflect the objectives of advocacy and change, with an intersectoral approach, and projecting a vision aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, to which countries, in the Americas and throughout the world, have committed themselves. Participants discussed the progress made by the four thematic discussion groups on: model of care, institutional model, financing model, and health and social protection.

The members of the Commission approved the creation of a new thematic group on human resources for health, which will have the support from Fernando Menezes, PAHO´s Unit Chief on Human Resources for Health, at the Technical Secretariat. "The training of human resources for health is strategic to transform health systems, incorporating incentives, and an undergraduate education that is not only technical, but also has an ethical and responsibility component with social commitment", said Bachelet.

As part of the International Advisory Group organized by the WHO, Carina Vance, executive director of the South American Institute of Government in Health (ISAGS-UNASUR) and member of the Commission, explained current progress on the Declaration on Primary Health Care, to be presented at a meeting, during the Declaration of Alma-Ata 40th anniversary, on 25-26 October in Astana (Kazakhstan).

The Commission will meet monthly, and the thematic groups will continue working using the HS INNOVATION platform as a collaborative space for sharing documents, structuring the groups´ conversations, and storing the documentation produced.

The High-level Commission, which was created last year by PAHO, is composed of representatives of international organizations, government, civil society and academia from more than ten countries of the Americas. Michelle Bachelet is the Commission's Chair, and Ambassador Néstor Méndez, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), is the Co-chair.

For more information about the Forum and the High-level Commission visit this link: https://hsinnovacion.paho.org/en

Relevant links

PAHO calls for breaking down barriers that keep one in three people in the Americas from accessing health

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From left to right: Francisco Becerra-Posada (PAHO, Assistant Director), James Fitzgerald (PAHO/HSS Director Health Systems and Services Department), Michelle Bachelet (Former President of Chile and Chair of the Commision for Universal Health, Ernesto Báscolo (PAHO Advisor, Governance, Leadership, Policy and Planning), at PAHO Headquarters, Washington DC. June 2018.