Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes described his National Integrated Health System yesterday which aims to reform the way that healthcare is delivered for the majority of Salvadorans. Funes described his proposal as "revolutionary" and "real change."
An article in ContraPunto describes aspects of the new system:
The flagship program of the new system is Integrated Network Health Services, which aims to spread out the health service with Community-based Family Health Teams (ECOS), which will carry coverage throughout the country under the premise that it will be the state that moves healthcare towards the citizens, rather than the latter having to search out care, as is the case today.
These teams are already working as pilot programs since August in 74 municipalities, and are composed of five people: a doctor, nurse, nursing assistant, a health promoter and a utility person.
Each ECOS will be responsible for 200 families, which will have charge of all aspects of health, including health issues such as housing, water and food as other conditions, because the medical personnel will be present constantly in communities.
"It's an issue that goes beyond just sitting at the desk and waiting for the patient," said Vice minister for Health Policy, Eduardo Espinoza.
On top of this primary network, for every eight ECOS there will be a Family Specialist ECOS which will be responsible for overseeing the work of the primary and to cover specific medical needs. In these groups there are three doctors, a pediatrician, a psychologist, a dentist, a clinical laboratory technician and a nurse and a nursing assistant. (translation errors are mine).
The proposal also addresses the supply of pharmaceutical drugs in the country, greater integration of the social security health system (ISSS) and the ministry of health operated system, a national emergency system, and greater citizen involvement in the system. Funes proposed increasing the amount of El Salvador's GDP devoted to healthcare from 1.5% to 5% by 2014.
This is a very ambitious proposal. The idea is right -- we'll have to see how Funes finds the money to pay for it.