The new healthcare model in Colombia focuses on family and community medicine to improve the quality of care and promote access to healthcare in communities in the southeastern region of the country.
EUROsociAL II, the cooperation programme of the European Commission, collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MSPS) to organize the First Regional Health and Family and Community Medicine Conference of Southeastern Colombia, which was held in the city of Popayán in December. This event represented a milestone in the implementation of the new model of primary healthcare with a focus on family and community medicine.
The activity was centred on five departments: Valle, Cauca, Nariño, Huila and Tolima. This zone of the country concentrates great social and health inequities as a consequence of social determination processes associated with the armed conflict, socio-economic inequality, institutional weakness, the presence of highly vulnerable populations, such as ethnic groups (indigenous and African-descended), farm workers and victims of violence, among others.
The event started with an address by Dr Fernando Ruiz Gómez, Deputy Minister of Public Health and Services to explain the new primary healthcare model. On the part of the EUROsociAL II programme, two public managers of the Brazilian and French ministries of health provided input on the experiences, achievements and challenges of their respective primary healthcare systems in delivering primary care to populations in remote areas which could offer new possibilities in this transition.
There was also considerable involvement by national actors and, as part of the activity, dialogues were established to reach agreements on the implementation of the new model of primary healthcare with a focus on family and community medicine.
Currently the Ministry of Health and Social Protection is consolidating two lines of action for implementation of the comprehensive healthcare model. In 2015 it created regulations governing the General Social Security System which will facilitate adaptation of the new model to the specific characteristics of each territory.
In parallel, EUROsociAL provided support to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the country’s universities in the implementation of new university programmes in family and community medicine to ensure the future availability of adequate human talent to lend continuity and sustainability to the new model of primary healthcare.
These activities are part of the action of the EUROsociAL II Programme to improve equity in the reform of healthcare systems that is being executed by the Spanish Foundation for International Cooperation, Health and Social Affairs (FCSAI); the Ibero-American Social Security Organization (OISS); and the National Public Health School (ENSP) / Fiocruz of Brazil as operational partners of the programme. The International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) is the coordinating partner of the EUROsociAL II Programme.