Third Meeting of the Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Region of the Americas in Bogotá

Chaired by Sir Michael Marmot, the Commission is researching the fundamental causes of health inequalities in the Americas and it will form concrete recommendations for action in pursuit of reducing or eliminating the gaps in health equity. Mabel Bianco, president of FEIM, participated in the meeting as the integral Argentine expert of the Commission.

Bogotá, Colombia, March 31, 2017 –  The Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Region of the Americas held its third meeting in Bogotá, Colombia. The Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) has commissioned this review in an effort to gather evidence related to the inequities and disparities in health in the Americas. The final recommendations of the Commission will contribute to efficiently addressing the factors that drive the inequities and disparities in health, including the incorporation of the four transversal issues (CCTs) of gender, equity, human rights, and ethnicity in all of the activities and programmes of the PAHO.

After holding its first two meetings in the PAHO building in Washington D.C., this is the first time that the Commission has moved to one of its 15 Associate States. With the support of the PAHO office in Colombia, the meeting facilitated the direct relationship of the Commissioners with state authorities, including a high level meeting with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, with Dr. Alejandro Gaviria Uribe. Moreover, the Commissioners were able to listen to Mr. Yamit Noe Hurtado, Mayor of Paipa, who presented regarding the experience of his municipality in the formation of public policy based on the identification of local-level priorities and needs. The members of the Commission also had the opportunity to share ideas with prominent Colombian academics and to hear the testimony of leaders of afro-descendent, indigenous, and Romani communities, who recounted their experiences with respect to the inequalities that directly affect them.

The three-day meeting facilitated discussions concerning the social determinants of health and the most effective interventions to address them. Moreover, an important emphasis was placed on incorporating the perspectives of marginalised groups into the most relevant topics, such as how to improve the governance and monitoring of data as a tool to promote health equity.

The meeting benefited from the PAHO representatives of Colombia, Jamaica, as well as Costa Rica, the country where the Commission’s fourth meeting will be celebrated in June of this year, in its capital, San José. The Commission is directed by Professor Sir Michael and its members are Paulo Buss and Cesar Victora of Brazil, Nila Heredia of Bolivia, Tracy Robinson of Jamaica, Cindy Blackstock of Canada, Mirna Cunningham of Nicaragua, María Paula Romo of Ecuador, Pastor Murillo of Colombia, Mabel Bianco and Victor Abramovich of Argentina, and David Satcher of the United States.

Original text and photos: OPS