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Washington D.C. 21 March 2019 (PAHO/WHO) – Delegates from 26 countries of the Americas met in Washington, D.C., from 19-20 March, to review and discuss the proposed new “Strategy and Plan of Action to improve the Quality of Comprehensive, People , Family-, and Community-centered Health Services.”

“Since the approval of Strategy for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage (Universal Health), in 2014, countries have recognized the need to align the vision of quality in health services with the vision of Universal Health, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Sustainable Health Agenda 2030,” said James Fitzgerald, Director of PAHO’s Department of Health Systems and Services.

“Problems of quality in health systems and services affect people, families, and communities, constituting access barriers to comprehensive health services, most frequently impacting populations in conditions of vulnerability,” said Amalia Del Riego, Chief of the Health Services and Access Unit at PAHO/WHO.

The PAHO resolution “Regional Policy and Strategy for Ensuring Quality of Health Care, including Patient Safety”, approved in 2007, described the patient safety paradigm as a priority element of quality of care.

The updated Strategy and Plan of Action for Quality introduces a new framework that requires a comprehensive perspective on systems and actions in each country’s context, with the guiding principles of: a rights-based approach; equity; ethical decision-making; the participation and empowerment of people, families, and communities; and evidence-informed and best practices decision-making.

During the two-days meeting, participants from 26 countries discussed the proposal, analyzed the strategic lines, reviewed the objectives and indicators, and proposed recommendations for the Plan of Action.

The new Strategy and Plan of Action for Quality will be submitted for the consideration of the 2019 PAHO Executive Committee in June 2019.