Public health care in Ecuador was internationally recognized as the most innovative and progressive in the world when they were awarded the United Nations Public Service Award.
The prestigious award, presented on June 23, praised the South American country’s delivery of health services which Ecuadoreans have access to through the Public Health Network (RPIS), from which stem other branches of state medical aid such as the Ministry of Public Health (MSP), Ecuadorean Institute of Social Security (ISSFA), and the National Police Social Security Institute (ISSPOL).
Ecuadoreans will receive medical attention from any one of these institutions at any location, irrespective of their member status or their economic situation per the country’s constitution which guarantees free health care.
Additionally, Ecuador’s public health takes a step further, breaking convention and putting the welfare of its citizens first. In the case that a medical procedure is not available in the country, the patient in sent outside the country to undergo medical aid, free of charge.
One such case was that of Sofia Echeverria, a young woman who had suffered from biliary atresia, a sickness of the liver, since birth. As liver transplant is impossible in Ecuador, she was sent to the Austral Hospital in Argentina to undergo surgery.
Since its initiation, RPIS has treated more than 8 million patients and members the state medical institutions as well as transferred 40,000 to outside private services.
“This has implied great changes in our institutions and state officials attitude since the system was divided and full of barriers that did not allow citizens to benefit from hospital services due to the lack of funds,” Minister of Health, Veronica Espinosa stated.
Espinosa said that despite the progress made, there is still much left to do.
The minister explained the need for a legislative framework which will guarantee universal medical care for future generations – a proposal that will be discussed at the National Assembly.