WHO Highlights Free Medical Coverage in Bolivia

La Paz - Bolivia has a broad free medical coverage and reported the largest growth in the sector in South America in 2018, according to the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the country, Fernando Leanes.

'Actually, compared to all countries in the world, Bolivia's leap in the field of health care was widely acknowledged. Undoubtedly, over the past few years, there was no such a big growth in South America in terms of free healthcare coverage as in Bolivia in 2018,' Leanes said in an interview with Red Patria Nueva.

Since March 1, 2019, the Bolivian Government has implemented the Single Healthcare System (SUS, in Spanish), a universal, free and high-quality initiative that has benefited half of the population who do not have medical insurances or the economic conditions to receive private treatments.

Recently, Health Minister Gabriela Montaño recalled that the Government plants to invest more than two billion dollars to build new medical centers and improve other healthcare facilities nationwide.

The WHO representative expressed pride for accompanying the process to implement the SUS in Bolivia, because 'when there is a political will and there are resources, (free health care) can be expanded and we expect that many countries will imitate Bolivia', he added.

On the other hand, he criticized the sectors opposed to that kind of social program with the pretext of protecting patients, when in fact they affect them.

In that regard, he pointed out that the public sector is deprived of free medical care, while private clinics work normally.

Nearly three million Bolivians have registered in the SUS, except for third-level hospitals in the department of Santa Cruz, whose authorities have not signed the intergovernmental agreements.

The Bolivian Government allocated more than 200 million dollars in the first year of the new free-healthcare system to improve the infrastructure and equipment in medical facilities.

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