Bolivian President Evo Morales today inaugurated the implementation of the Unified Health System (SUS), which provides free, quality medical care to more than 50 percent of the population without resources or insurance.
More than five million Bolivians (51.0 percent of the population), wage earners, peasants and self-employed workers, who were fundamentally uninsured, will have access to the unprecedented universal system, Evo said during the SUS opening ceremony in the department of Cochabamba.
The president said that this is an event, a reality long awaited by the Bolivian people.
Evo said that in 180 years of national history up to 2005 there were only just over seven thousand medical services, and ‘in 13 years we created 18,550, to which 800 will be included as part of the SUS, he added.
We don’t want there are more people suffering for lack of assistance,” he said, while recalling that the government invested 1.993 billion dollars in health care.
For this reason, he considered that Bolivia constitutes a model in health not only for Bolivians, but also for the countries of the region.
The system begins on March 1 with more than 1,200 benefits at no cost, and its expansion will be progressive, both for nationals and foreigners.
Recently the president commented through his Twitter account that ‘the people will defend this benefit that the most abandoned expect, and fundamentally for the new generations, because a people is worthy when its State protects it’.
While in capitalism healthcare is a business, thanks to committed doctors we will have the SUS for the brothers who do not have insurance, for the poorest’, said Evo.
Until February 11, 1.2 million people had enrolled in the SUS, while it will come into effect in six of the country’s nine departments, in the face of the refusal of the authorities of La Paz, Tarija and Santa Cruz to sign the relevant agreement with the Ministry of Health.
With an initial SUS budget of US$250 million, the government expects to reach 5.4 percent of public spending on health by 2019 and 6.6 percentage points by 2020. Today it stands at 4.7 percent.
If this goal is achieved – as the president ratified this Friday – Bolivia would be among the five countries in the region that exhibit this achievement.
The states of the industrialized world spend more than 6.0 percent of their gross domestic product on health, as a rule.
(With information from Prensa Latina)
(Taken from PL in Spanish)