INCAE, Fundación Plenitud and Exemplars in Global Health present research findings on the response of the health system in times of COVID-19.

10 2023 March
Andy Pearson

Last Thursday, March 2, INCAE Business School, Fundación Plenitud, and Exemplars in Global Health organized a webinar to present the main findings of a study on the response of health systems to maintain essential services during the response to COVID-19. XNUMX. The research focused on identifying the strategies and best practices that allowed essential health services to be maintained during the crisis.

During the event, the cases of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and a comparative analysis of the responses of six countries that are part of the global investigation, including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda and Ghana, were presented. In addition, the webinar included a comments section in which representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) highlighted the key points of the study.

Andrea Prado, INCAE Associate Professor, highlighted in the case of Costa Rica the importance of vertical and horizontal integration of the health system to maintain the continuity of essential services during the pandemic. Professor Prado emphasized how the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) has successfully implemented this strategy, allowing the transfer of patients through effective coordination and communication between Primary Health Care, hospitals, and specialized centers.

On the other hand, Margarita Rathe, Founder and Executive Director of Fundación Plenitud, emphasized that in the case of the Dominican Republic, leadership and governance in the response to COVID-19 were important. Rathe stressed that these factors were essential to guarantee an effective and coordinated response to the pandemic, mainly when it came to calling on communities to comply with social and public health measures, developing massive vaccination campaigns; and finally to coordinate the necessary financing and resources through partnerships between the public and private sectors.

During the webinar, attendees were able to learn from the experiences of other countries and reflect on the challenges, lessons learned, and opportunities facing health systems to improve the response to future public health emergencies. Andy Pearson, Senior Researcher at INCAE, mentioned that the comparative study sought to identify key measures at the national, government and community levels, as well as service delivery adaptations that health providers made to maintain patient care amid of the pandemic.

Dionne Patz, PAHO Advisor for Public Health Policies and Programs, highlighted the importance of generating evidence at the national level for future decision-making, planning, and resource allocation, as well as catalyzing good practices that are being identified in the report. Finally, Dr. Roger Montes, PAHO Health Systems and Services Advisor, called for each country to define which are the essential health services that they have to maintain with or without a pandemic, making it necessary to take into account the achievements that have been reached and the epidemiological profile at the national level.

The research was supported by the "Exemplars in Global Health" Program, an initiative that aims to identify and analyze exemplary practices in health systems around the world. The program seeks to understand the key features that make health systems effective, and share these learnings with the world to improve global health.

The recording of the webinar is available on INCAE's YouTube channel HERE.

For more information on the research findings, you can visit the Exemplars in Global Health Program website. HERE in the case of Costa Rica and HERE for the Dominican Republic.

About the Exemplars in Global Health program

Exemplars in Global Health (EGH) brings together researchers from around the world with the mission of identifying and analyzing exemplary cases in Global Health, and disseminating learning that can be replicated in countries with similar contexts. EGH aims to help decision makers and other relevant stakeholders at the national level to allocate resources, craft evidence-based policy, and make strategic decisions based on the experiences of their global peers. 

Our lines of action focus on the following topics: Reduction of stunting, reduction of under-five mortality, support for community health workers, vaccine administration, mass distribution of medicines, neonatal and maternal mortality, response to COVID-19, family planning, anemia among women of reproductive age, women's health and well-being, primary health care, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights. This particular research is in the framework of studies on pandemic preparedness.