Going Beyond Normal Challenges for Health and Healthcare in Latin America and the Caribbean Exposed by Covid-19

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May 2022
This technical note describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Latin America and the Caribbean, and considers the implications for future population health, health spending, healthcare service reforms, and investments to prepare for future health emergencies. It provides a summary of the few existing empirical studies and then contributes original analysis using administrative data from hospitals and vital registration systems in five countries. It shows substantial declines in health and healthcare delivery during the first year of the pandemic, especially for preventive and elective care. Some countries were able to return healthcare to historical levels, while others were still below average in 2021. The study concludes with reflections on how the pandemic has altered health policy recommendations for the region, generating a greater sense of urgency to make progress on long-standing agendas such as eliminating fragmentation, integrating care, and pursuing digital transformation while reordering priorities toward investments in emergency preparedness, disease surveillance, resilience, and self-sufficiency. In other words, going beyond normal.