Sowing public-private partnerships to strengthen our health system

Speech by the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, Margarita Cedeño, at the 4th International Congress of Health and Wellness Tourism.

Doctor Alejandro Cambiaso, President of the Dominican Association of Health and Wellness Tourism;

Mrs. Amelia Reyes Mora, President of AF Strategic Communication and Vice President of the Dominican Association of Health and Wellness Tourism;

Members of the medical and scientific community present;

Members of the tourism sector;

Representatives of the press;

Boy friends and girl friends:

The Sustainable Development Goals have become the common agenda that humanity has adopted, so that we can live in a sustainable world that is responsible for the environment and allows future generations to enjoy well-being and quality of life.

One of those objectives, number 17 to be exact, refers to an essential issue so that we can move forward in the common development agenda of our countries.

That theme is the alliances to achieve the objectives. We are strongly called to take urgent action, to mobilize, redirect and unlock the transforming power of billions of dollars worldwide, which today are not being directed towards the necessary investments, both in the public sector and in the sector private.

Why are public-private partnerships so important for development?


Developed countries have reconfigured their economic contributions to those in development, due to the effects of the global economic and financial crisis, on the one hand, and on the other, due to protectionist policies that are fed by some populist governments.

This has led to development assistance being decreasing at a rate of 0.6% per year, instead of being increased, as necessary.

In addition, 79 percent of imports from developing countries enter developed countries without paying taxes, which means that governments have less money to finance actions that feed the sustainable development agenda.

Similarly, the fact that many countries are approaching average income, that is, that they have increased their per capita income, makes them ineligible for financing for development, resulting in a brake on social development programs, mainly. It is the situation in which the Dominican Republic is today. As we have continuously improved economic indicators, today we are not eligible for development assistance.

This is a broad discussion worldwide. In Addis Ababa, a city in Ethiopia, representatives of all the countries that make up the United Nations met to discuss an important question: how will the actions of the development agenda be financed? There, an action agenda was approved, which in one of its points states that: “governments must encourage the implementation of innovative mechanisms to facilitate private resources to finance development,” and that, at the same time, the transformative potential that the private sector can exercise, in many social realities.

It is not an idle statement.

It is a call with determination that public-private partnerships are the basis of a new way of directing public policies, towards better results.

Today we are here and we have given our support to this initiative, because public-private partnerships are urgent and necessary in health, as a support for a system that is integrated into the surrounding ecosystem, sowing positive changes in its users.

I give you an interesting example of the type of alliances that we aspire to promote in the health sector.

For a long time, the lack of blood and its derivatives has been one of the great challenges of the health sector. Obtaining this precious liquid, as you know, is a strong headache for the relatives of a patient, and at the same time, a strong blow to the users pocket. The consequences are fatal and strongly affect the country’s indicators.

Concerned about this reality, from the Vice Presidency we promote an alliance with the Ministry of Public Health and the National Health Service, supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, an international organization, to strategically approach the actors of the system and begin to Find solutions to the problem.

The next step is the mobilization of the whole society, so that the culture of blood donation is impregnated throughout society, and for this, public and private competition is required, that is, an alliance. If we did not bet on it, then it would cost the Dominican State and society a lot to promote the donation.

Efforts such as this are in line with cohesive sustainable development strategies, articulated from public-private partnerships and backed by sufficient funding and with an inclusive development approach.

Boy friends and girl friends:

Public-private partnerships take advantage of the dynamism and efficiency of the business sector, especially those who carry out their business from a focus on social responsibility and shared prosperity.

We as a State, what we have is to encourage a better alignment between their initiatives, those of the private sector, and ours, to contribute together to improve the strengthening of health systems.

In terms of health tourism, which is what brings us together here today, we can and must make a greater effort in the alliance between State and society.

It is a sector of great dynamism and growth, which has resulted in a large international offer of medical services that, according to studies, generates more than 70 billion dollars every year.

In the case of the Dominican Republic, there are several factors that favor us to take advantage of this great market.

A first group of them correspond to what we could call “advantages inherent in the country”, such as our enviable geographical position, especially as regards the proximity to the United States, one of the main target markets. Likewise, our pleasant climate and the different microclimates that we can find throughout the island, which are pleasant for the recovery of patients, and that at the same time facilitate air and land transport, inside and outside the country. And of course, the wide range of usable natural resources, both from the tourist point of view and from the point of view of health. We cannot forget that health tourism has to be attractive to the patient and his companions.

There is a second group of factors that we could consider competitive advantages and that can be further developed, corresponding to the excellent hotel offer, the availability of facilities for transport, a quality human capital and with a focus on service and an infrastructure that every time It is improving more.

To that we add the state commitment to a better health system in the country, on the one hand, and with an attractive tourist offer, which allows complementing the visits of foreign patients to the country.

However, we are aware that a good offer of services and a tourist attraction are not enough for them to choose the Dominican Republic as a health tourism destination.

It is necessary to address the perception of security and other facilities that will ensure a pleasant and memorable experience. This is essential, in particular, for wellness health tourism, which is the one that generates the highest income for the industry.

All the reports we have evaluated guide us in the same direction. In order for the Dominican Republic to consolidate itself as a leader in health tourism in the region, strategic, public-private alliances are needed, which facilitate investments and aim to improve services and facilities.

These alliances touch several axes of the public and private exercise.

From the sphere that corresponds to the Dominican Government, it is necessary to evaluate the pertinent measures to facilitate the migratory processes, the citizen security, the protection of investments, the evaluation of quality norms, the health and the care for the environment, the disposition of the resources and government support for health tourism promotion, to name a few.

All aspects that we can mention that affect health tourism, require that we have at the same table the Government, the hotel sector, the civil aviation sector, hospitals, private clinics, medical insurers, business groups and organizations security, to define a working method that constantly allows us to review the measures implemented, adjust and improve them.

This Congress that brings us together today is a great step forward, because it has brought together representatives from various sectors who have an interest in the subject.

But I believe that the next step should be to formalize a common work space, which prioritizes the actions and investments necessary for health tourism and, at the same time, can follow up on the normative and legislative proposals that affect the issue. .

I am sure that in the Dominican Health Tourism Association there is enthusiasm and firm desire that this be a reality, but I believe that we can do more from each of our areas, to take advantage of this great opportunity for economic development and strengthening of the health sector .

I can’t stop congratulating Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso. His passion with this topic excites me and gives me a lot of encouragement to support the development of this sector. It cannot be denied that he has become an evangelizer of the subject and that he convinces those of us who stop to listen to him.

The support he has received on this day, attests that there are many people who think alike.

Boy friends and girl friends:

The conditions are in place for health tourism to be strengthened in the country and become an engine of development for our economy and improvement of the quality of life and service provision for the entire population.

We have all the elements to become the leaders of all Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean and, with effort and dedication, we can bet on more.

There are four factors that are the key to making this a reality: reasonable prices, quality of service and availability of availability with state-of-the-art technology, highly certified staff, reliable insurance services and a memorable location, regardless of the destination choose

I know that for us those gathered here, accustomed to great challenges and triumphs, all this seems easy, but it is not. The Government cannot do it alone, neither can the private sector.

But together, I’m sure we can make it happen.

Thank you so much! Blessings

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