More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean, demonstrating health and economic inequalities across the region.

A new article analyzes seven books that address these inequalities, including questions of who benefits from health care and what interrelated roles societies, social movements and governments play. To end inequalities in the region, the author calls for a universal approach to health care.

The article, written by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), appears in the June 2021 issue of Latin American Research Journal, a journal published by the Association for Latin American Studies.

These books innovate and contribute to our understanding of some of the most important health care systems in Latin America. In doing so, they help us understand the content and impact of health policies, an issue that has taken on new urgency during the pandemic.. “

Silvia Borzutzky, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

With the seven books as a backdrop, the author begins with a brief historical overview of health policies in the region, then examines the role of social movements, subnational governments and policy implementation in ensuring access. to health care. It also discusses the role of international organizations.

Borzutzky notes that most of the authors of the books are concerned about equitable and universal health care policies, but that goal has been hampered. Even in countries with a universal right to health care, citizens have unequal access due to regional inequalities, traditional patronage relationships and the exclusion of minorities or minority groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people who lack power bore the brunt of this lack of access. Moreover, as the disease results from poverty, in a post-pandemic Latin America and the Caribbean, the task will not only be to provide universal and good quality health care, but also to reduce poverty across the continent, suggests the author.

“The authors of the books I have reviewed are convinced that health policies in this part of the world are far from universal,” Borzutzky explains. “Instead, they are fragmented and respond to the power and actions of critical groups or individuals in critical roles at specific times and places.”

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