Chile has been in the forefront of major new issues related to health systems and inequality. First, most Chilean observers were surprised by the massive social protests in October 2019 that challenged the view that Chile was progressing in reducing poverty and increasing equal access to health care for the poor and vulnerable populations. The protests led to a process for a Constitutional Convention and a presidential election, which led to the election of Gabriel Boric, a young a young progressive, and a plebiscite on the draft Constitution. Reforms of the health system are major parts of both the political campaigns and the Constitution. Most recently, Chileans rejects a newly written constitution, maintaining the constitution that was drafted during the military dictatorship.
Secondly, in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic, Chile has gone through periods when it seemed to have applied the best practices for containing Covid-19 and for high vaccination rates but these periods were followed by increasing cases and hospitalizations. Currently Chile is again one of the best examples of COVID policies in the region.
Thirdly, Chile has been an innovator of health sector reforms and has been a model for several countries around the world. We will have interviews with many participants in the health system, including current and past Ministers of Health, legislators, health economists, members of professional associations, health providers in the public and private sectors, academic observers and researchers to get their views on the protests, COVID-19 situation and the broader options for health reform. We will also observe Chile’s initiatives in primary care including an important public private partnership and the development of a family medicine approach to community health care.
After two years of on-line courses due to the COVID pandemic, we are now again offering the course as an in-person course available for 15 students, with HSPH subsidies for flights and per diem costs. There will also be up to 15 Chilean residents in Family Medicine from the Universidad Católica who will join the course and share in all the course activities. We will have in person interviews with officials and observers and visit the Congress in Valparaiso and facilities in both urban and rural areas.