Ecuadoris among the most inefficient countries in health in Latin America and the Caribbean.This is outlined in the first study on the efficiency of health systems in theregion published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which ranks 54thout of a total of 71 studied, below Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil andVenezuela.
The report, which measures six parameters, portrays a reality in health care that contrasts with the large amount of resources invested: 5,000 million dollars between 2007 and 2012 and a much higher figure until 2017.
Theresults of this new study are similar to those recorded in a 2010 report fromthe World Health Organization (WHO), which indicates that little has been doneto change the reality.
Among the 71 nations analyzed, Ecuador is among the last 17 of the table, where most of the Latin American and Caribbean countries are located. The only Latin American country that is best located is Chile, which is in position 8.
The IDB study emphasizes that resources are allocated to interventions that do not maximize improvements in health, such as spending more on curative care (treating illnesses) than on preventive measures. Underutilization of generic drugs is another great source of inefficiency. Added to this are the mismanagement and corruption.
Diana Pinto, a leading health specialist at the IDB, said that institutional quality is a decisive factor in having greater health efficiency. Ensures that “those countries where governments have more transparency, citizen participation and fight against corruption, score higher in these measures.” Ecuador is not in this group.
Anotherissue that intervenes in health efficiency, according to Pinto, is the qualityof primary care. The more timely the treatment, the more acute deterioration,progression and complications in sick people are prevented.
Ex-Ministers of Health of Ecuador assure that as long as the policy is not changed, there will be no resources that are enough.
FranciscoAndino (infectious disease specialist) says that although investment in healthin Ecuador grew 10 times in a decade (about $ 3.2 billion), the results do nottranslate into a healthier nation. On the contrary, it is sicker because thereis more malnutrition and non-communicable chronic diseases such as diabetes andhypertension, which increase health expenditures.
With him agrees the endocrinologist Francisco Vera, former president of the College of Physicians of Guayas, who like his colleague believes that the serious problem is the inexistence of a plan of promotion and prevention of health, as indicated by the study.
“We must promote good manners and good eating habits to avoid, in the future, the collapse of the health system. Preventive health rather than curative health, “he says.
The IDB report anticipates that health expenditures will continue to rise in the near future, “driven by factors such as the aging of the population, the growing incidence of chronic diseases, socioeconomic advances and their consequent increased demand for services of health, as well as the adoption of technological developments “.
These trends, the document says, strengthen the arguments in favor of greater efficiency to curb the growth of public spending in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to the report, the proactive management of diseases in primary care can help to contain health spending by reducing or even avoiding the need for emergency visits and hospitalizations.
There are, according to the study, many options of strategies to control prices and prioritize medicines, and thus invest in those that really make a difference and add value and improve efficiency.
Inadequateor expensive combination of professionals, high prices, low quality andirrational use of medicines, overuse of health products and services anddeviations aimed at corruption and fraud. (I)