Health February 19, 2023 | 8:17 am

Government invests RD$9 billion a year in high-cost medicines

Daniel Rivera, Minister of Public Health.

The Minister of Public Health and Social Assistance, Daniel Rivera, gave a master conference entitled “Health Impact Strategy of the government of Luis Abinader,” in which he presented the achievements made during this period in the health field.

During the dissertation, the official highlighted that during the two years of administration (2020-2022), some RD 5,126,266,797.59 had been invested in infrastructure and equipment in 179 health centers, saving the State some 5 billion pesos.

He said that in the Directorate of Access to High-Cost Medicines, the government currently invests some 9,000 million pesos annually to benefit about 15,000 patients with chronic diseases.

He stated that the current authorities found the country in a state of emergency, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, without an efficient protocol, so they sought a rapid and strategic response to implement, given the challenges and needs faced by the nation at that time.

In that sense, he explained the strategies implemented that resulted in the current development of the health sector.

“The health system did not have an emergency plan, and the regulatory and training framework was made more efficient to respond to any pandemic; the first level of care is being renovated, we increased the diagnostic capacity, implementation of mobile hospitals, relations with international organizations and public-private partnership and high training in human resources in health. Through all these initiatives developed by order of our President Luis Abinader, we have achieved what we are today in terms of health,” indicated Dr. Rivera.

In this context, Dr. Rivera said that the government responded quickly to any epidemiological situation that could arise after the passage of natural phenomena, such as the passage through the country of storm Fiona, as well as with preventive actions for smallpox, cholera, and other viruses.

He also detailed the investments made in remodeling, emergencies, new constructions, first-level centers, and specialties such as hemodialysis, oncology units, and diabetic foot, among others.

During his presentation, the official pointed out that President Luis Abinader has a great strategic vision to continue strengthening the health system in the Dominican Republic, such as the healthy municipalities programs with the implementation of the “Change your Lifestyle” Health Routes and the creation of healthy cities in the provinces of San Francisco de Macorís, San Pedro and San Cristóbal.

“From our Ministry of Health we have impacted more than 100,000 people with the Health Route journey in 17 provinces, with some 35 services such as: evaluations, general consultation, pediatric, blood typing, diagnostics, treatments and prevention oriented to non-communicable diseases, psychosocial support, delivery of medicines, National Health Insurance (SeNaSa) affiliation among other services.”

The also president of the Health Cabinet highlighted the achievements made in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, with which the country guaranteed vaccination for all citizens and was the third country to apply the third dose. Likewise, the government decided to use the drugs Tocilizumab and REGEN-COV in severe patients and was one of the first in the world with the lowest lethality of the disease.

He also highlighted that the country was one of the five nations with the best vaccination rate, the sixth in Latin America in implementing immunization in children, and the third in the region in carrying out Genomic Sequencing, being recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), for the strategies implemented during the pandemic.

The Minister of Health highlighted the different social programs implemented in the area of health, in which he highlighted the budget increase made in the Essential Medicines Program and Central Logistical Support (PROMESE/CAL), which went from RD 1,568 million in 2022 to RD 3,176 million in 2023 for essential medicines, benefiting around 17,000 low-income patients.

He also mentioned the work carried out by entities such as the National Health Service (SNS), SeNaSa, Uniendo Voluntades, the National Institute of Drinking Water and Sewerage (INAPA), the Ministry of Housing and Buildings, among others.

The Minister of Health held the conference at the UTESA University Convention Center at the invitation of the New Democrats External Sector movement, which officials attended, collaborators of the Ministry of Health, members of Congress, and special guests, among other personalities.

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