A Learning Exchange to Brazil and Colombia towards Universal Health Coverage for India

NITI Aayog, the premier government think tank in India, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the National Health Authority and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation participated in a learning exchange to Brazil and Colombia in December 2019. The visit was facilitated with support from the International Labour Organization, (ILO) International Centre for Health Systems Strengthening (ICHSS) United States, and ACCESS Health International.

The Latin American countries made health a constitutional right and access to healthcare for every citizen a very high priority on policy and political agendas. Over the years prioritization has driven substantial increases in public and private allocation of resources and long term commitments to critical health system reforms.

The learning exchange offered an opportunity for participants to examine first hand their experience on health insurance and purchaser regulation, primary healthcare, and public and private purchaser capabilities. In addition to the Brazil and Colombia experience, participants learned about the primary healthcare experience of Chile and Argentina and health sector regulatory experience of Chile.

The participants engaged in technical discussions with several senior policymakers including the Minister of Health and Social Protection of Colombia Dr. Juan Pablo Uribe and head of various public and private health institutions, visited the health delivery facilities and interacted with the community health workers and providers.

The learning exchange identified potential areas for discussion relevant for India. These include; steering regulatory equity across all insurers; evolving role of public sector from implementation to funding and regulating; potential role of public private collaboration in urban healthcare delivery and result based healthcare financing.

Mr Alok Kumar, Adviser, NITI Aayog, tweeted, “Concluded study visit in Colombia today. Had tremendously productive meetings with the Health Minister of Colombia, Secretary Health Bogota, Director HMO Compensar, Director of ADRES – the regulator of insurance companies and also the ED of a not-for-profit hospital.”(@IasAlok)