Health and the Economy: A Convergence Needed to Address COVID-19 and Retake the Path of Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean
Pan American Health Organization
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Latin America and the Caribbean is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the highest number of cases of any region in the world. The pandemic has produced an unprecedented economic and social crisis, and it could generate a food, humanitarian, and political crisis if urgent measures are not taken. The policy options for addressing the pandemic entail consolidating national plans and achieving intersectoral consensus. The response should be structured in three nonlinear and interrelated phasesâ€”control, reactivation, and rebuildingâ€”involving the participation of technical actors representing not only the field of health but also other social and economic areas. Measures implemented to control the pandemic as well as measures for the reactivation and rebuilding phases will require increased public investment in health until the recommended parameters are achieved. It is necessary to ensure the strengthening of health systems and the expansion and reconfiguration of quality health services with a primary health care approach and to immediately address unmet health needs, reduce inequities, and improve conditions for accessing essential services, including financial protection.