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Costa Rica obtained the 6th best result, in Latin America, in the Cancer Approach Preparation Index (CPI), in a report published by The Economist. This indicative seeks to make a comparison of initiatives at the national level and open a debate on best practices to address that challenge.

Costa Rica has one of the best health care systems in the Latin American region

For this, the Intelligence Unit of the analysis group conducted interviews with experts in the field and information from 12 countries. The list is completed by Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Perú, México, Panamá, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

To formulate the index, the study approached the CPI in 3 domains:

These areas, in turn, comprise 13 subdomains and 45 indicators. In this way, it is studied from the existence of public policies to encourage physical activity, to the extent of the provision of palliative care in the State health system.

Issues such as the size of the labor force in the sector, as well as the prevalence of corruption are also analyzed.

Contrasting results

The findings of the report showed considerable differences, in Costa Rica, in some of the indicators. For example, the country has one of the lowest cancer mortality rates on the continent (0.44). Even the record is better than the average in Europe (0.46), although lower than North America (0.29).

The latter according to the mortality and incidence ratios (M: I). At the same time, the study shows, after measuring the infrastructure of the density indicators of qualified surgeons and health professionals, Costa Rica was among the worst places in that area.

The document, however, does not detail the data that were taken into account to place the country in that position, along with Paraguay. Also, when referring to a 2018 publication in the Pan American Journal of Public Health (PAJPH), it was indicated that cancer will cost Costa Rica US$ 6.48 billion between 2015 and 2030, in terms of loss of economic production.

Due to the lack of information from the other nations, only Peru is referenced, with US$ 30.78 billion.

Generalized conclusions

The study does not yield conclusions for each country, although it does share a general vision of the region. By way of fundamental principles, the study reports:

  • Need for continuous planning to address cancer
  • Investment in cancer registries
  • Focus on prevention
  • Priority to those who do not receive sufficient attention.
  • Patient-centered services
  • Resource planning
  • Greater multi-sectoring collaboration
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