W&L’s Ponce de León Presents Research to Health Ministry Officials in Peru Among different research findings, this study shows that there are still enormous barriers to healthcare access in Peru.
Peru is the country with the highest mortality rate in the world. The reform of the healthcare system did not pay enough attention to the structural causes of inequalities in access to health.
~Zoila Ponce de León
In September, Professor Zoila Ponce de León presented the findings of research she conducted over the summer to officials from the Health Ministry (MINSA) in Peru and other healthcare experts. The virtual talk drew over 50 participants.
This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Consortium (CIES). Over the summer, Ponce de León’s proposal won the XXIII CIES 2021 Annual Research Contest in the area of Healthcare System Reform. She was able to conduct this research with the assistance of student Andrea Rojas ’23, who majors in politics.
Among different research findings, this study shows that there are still enormous barriers to healthcare access in Peru. There is an unequal system where segments of the population experience poor access to services due to their income and geographic location.
Although there has been an increase in funding and insurance coverage in the population, this did not lead to an equivalent increase in access to healthcare due to gaps in human resources, infrastructure, equipment, and access to medicines. For this to change, the fragmentation of the healthcare system in the country needs to be tackled and the leadership role of the Health Ministry strengthened. Moreover, health expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) in Peru is still very low, compared to other Latin American countries, and lacks stability.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the urgent need to study those reforms that attempted to expand access to healthcare in Peru and the factors that explain their level of success.
“The differentiated effective access to healthcare that the Peruvian fragmented system generates is one of the main reasons for the disastrous results of the pandemic in the country,” said Ponce de León.
“Peru is the country with the highest mortality rate in the world. The reform of the healthcare system did not pay enough attention to the structural causes of inequalities in access to health.”
Zoila Ponce de León is an assistant professor in the Politics Department and a core faculty member of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Program. Her research focuses on social policy and comparative political economy, with particular emphasis on the politics of policymaking.