The report of the Health Cluster: 2021 Review prepared by Amado Alejandro Báez, Patricia González and Gianna De Oleo, recognizes “as a fundamental issue the important economic growth especially with investments in tourism, considering the limitations associated with disruptions in logistics and supply chains associated with the pandemic and above all accepting the important connectivity that health has with other productive sectors such as the economy and tourism”.
In the COVID-19 segment, they point out that the Dominican Republic, like the rest of the world, faced great challenges associated with the fight against the waves associated with the Delta and Omicron variants of SARS CoV-2. However, there were glimmers of hope thanks to a very organized and successful vaccination campaign, as well as innovative solutions, some of them multilateral collaborative and others independent, including the strengthening of the availability of services and testing capacity; thus the country remained stable, with an organized system providing a response from the Health Cabinet, evidenced by some of the best regional indicators, thanks to integrative strategies of public-private partnerships.
Other major achievements include the strengthening of the Public Health and Epidemiology career and the modernization of epidemiological systems, including the creation of an Epidemiological Artificial Intelligence platform, a PAHO/PSM project.
In relation to the non-COVID-19 segment, the 2021 Health Cluster report points out important advances with substantial investments in hospital infrastructure, with equipment and refurbishment, including the phased opening of areas in large hospital complexes including the Luis Eduardo Aybar Health City in Santo Domingo and the Cabral y Baez Hospital in Santiago.
Regarding social security, in the affiliations, coverage was expanded to include more than 2 million additional Dominicans to the subsidized regime, coverage was increased for outpatient and emergency consultations, as well as a significant expansion of the catalog of benefits, including: coverage of positron emission tomography (PET-CT), up to a limit of two (2) per year, comprehensive coverage of renal transplant, with a limit of three million five hundred thousand pesos and 00/100 (RD$3,500,000.00) per year; New coverage of renal transplant, with a limit of three million five hundred thousand pesos and 00/100 (RD$3,500,000. New coverage for breast cancer, which includes mastectomy for risk reduction, breast reconstruction for cancer and for risk reduction, coverage of BRCA 1 and 2 gene tests; dozens of other new procedures as well as the inclusion of multiple new high-cost drugs such as TPA/Alteplase in PROMESE, strengthening the response chain to Cardiovascular Emergencies. Equally important was the increase in pensions for thousands of retired physicians.
A considerable issue still pending is the effective implementation of the regulations of the Law of Medical Collegiation, Certification and Recertification pending since 2005, starting timidly with the recertification of only 85 doctors by mid-2021.
In the private sector, significant investment growth was observed, including expansions, expansions and investment in innovation. Some examples include the expansion in Processing and Care by Amadita Laboratorio Clínico, acquisition of new technologies by Clínica Abreu, the inauguration of the Modern Diabetes Obesity and Specialties Center CEMDOE, expansion of the pediatric cardiology program by CEDIMAT, strengthening of the COVID-19 care program at Plaza de la Salud, the expansion of HOMS in Santiago and MedicalNet-2 in Santo Domingo, as well as the innovation work in the ARS sector led by Primera ARS (Humano).
As for International Health, they point out that it made interesting progress. In 2021, great achievements are evidenced including the creation of the Health Diplomacy Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and important Dominican leadership in summits and forums of dignitaries and regional leaders including the Presidency of the Ibero-American General Secretariat where important contributions were made towards the strengthening of health systems. The issuance of Decree 787-21, which provides measures for planning and strategies to promote health tourism.
An important issue faced, but still pending, according to the report, is that of foreign nationals accessing health services in the DR in an irregular manner. In the search for solutions, work has been done with the international community, NGOs and diplomatic missions.