The advancement of medicine in Latin America

According to the WHO, Latin America has made progress in medicine but some indicators show that there is still much work to be done .

Hospital beds

Some remote areas of the region have received technological advances that have improved hospital care. / Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Moises Campos

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Leer en español: El avance de la medicina en Latinoamérica

Thanks to the economic growth that Latin America experienced in recent years, the governments of the region have made investments in the health area, specifically in infrastructure and prevention programs, reducing the incidence of infectious diseases and multiplying the life expectancy of its inhabitants. This economic growth has also allowed innovations to be made in medicine, thanks to technological advances, which is why telemedicine and remote diagnosis are available in some remote areas of the region, which undoubtedly constitutes an advance in medicine and therefore therefore, of health in the region.

Advances in medicine in Latin America

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Latin America has had important advances in medicine and health, which are reflected in indicators such as the increase in life expectancy in countries such as Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Cuba, with an average lifespan of 80 years for the first and 79 years for the others mentioned.

Another indicator that is taken into account to know what are the advances in the health sector in Latin American countries, is infant mortality, in which Cuba is first, according to the WHO, in which the probabilities of dying before the age of five is only six out of every thousand live births. Then Chile and Costa Rica follow.

Infrastructure is also an indicator of advances in medicine in the region. The WHO identifies Cuba, Argentina and Chile as the countries with the best infrastructure, although it does not always translate into good results, as is the case of Argentina.

Also read: An economic retrospective of the last years in Latam

Investment in health in Latin America

Only three countries in Latin America, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Cuba invest a little over 6% of their gross domestic product (GDP) in the health sector , while Colombia and Ecuador are close to reaching this goal, according to a report by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Despite this investment, the region still has great challenges ahead in terms of health care and innovation in the medical area and the creation of novel medicines, adapted to the needs of the region and available to everyone.

These countries are close to meeting the goal established in the regional agreement signed in 2014 under the auspices of PAHO, but it is noted that more nations must increase spending on health, establishing defined and realistic objectives.

Marcos Espinal, director of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis of PAHO , said that Latin American political leaders must put health on the political agenda as a priority to achieve development. If the funds for health are well spent, the results are palpable.

Advancement in medicine must go hand in hand with improvements in health programs and the inclusion of countries that are lagging behind, such as Haiti, Venezuela, Bolivia or Guatemala, where medicine must continue to progress. 

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