Webinar | Power, Politics, Resilience: Health Reforms in El Salvador and Guatemala

There is growing recognition that policy reform for resilient health systems and universal health coverage requires more than sound technical solutions. The policy process is equally important in determining the success of any health reform initiative.

On Thursday, January 19th, 2017, the HFG Project presented an independent comparative policy analysis exploring the post-conflict health reforms of Guatemala and El Salvador, analyzing the evolution of each country’s health system from the end of civil war in the 1990’s to the present. Both countries sought to expand primary healthcare coverage among the poor, but marked differences in the processes that shaped each country’s landmark health reforms set them on divergent paths—both in the nature and success of the reforms.

Ultimately, these contrasting experiences present useful lessons for policymakers in a variety of contexts, highlighting the importance of leadership, good governance, and political will in the stewardship of national health reform processes.

Dr. Carlos Avila (Senior Health Economist, HFG) and Jose Gutierrez (Senior Analyst, HFG) presented the webinar, looking at the post-conflict health reforms in Guatemala and El Salvador through a lens of political economy

Speaker Bios:
Dr. Carlos Avila, Senior Health Economist

Dr. Avila has over 20 years of experience in health financing and economics, in addition to more than 15 years of clinical practice as a medical doctor and infectious disease specialist. As a Senior Health Economist on the USAID HFG project, Dr. Avila ensures technical quality of health financing initiatives and oversees field activities in India, Namibia, Kenya, Dominican Republic, and Botswana. Prior experience includes leading the UNAIDS Financing and Economics Division and later directing its Strategic Intelligence Unit, and key positions within UNAIDS and Mexico’s Ministry of Health. As Director of Planning and Development within the Ministry of Health, he launched and oversaw a sector-wide strategy to strengthen the national health system. Dr. Avila was part of a team that designed and launched Seguro Popular, the country’s insurance program for low-income populations. He has provided technical assistance in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Dr. Avila holds a PhD in International Health (Harvard), and MD (National University of Mexico), and an MSc (Harvard).

Jose Carlos Gutierrez, Senior Analyst

Currently pursuing his PhD in Health Systems at Johns Hopkins University, Jose brings 5 years of experience in health systems strengthening and health financing to the HFG project, where he works on a range of costing and cost-effectiveness analyses and supports the design of health financing reforms in low and middle-income countries.  Previous experience includes helping to roll out the first PEPFAR Expenditure Analysis at USAID, and supporting the design of results-based financing systems with the Salud Mesoamerica Initiative at the Inter-American Development Bank. Jose holds a BA in History (Yale) and an MSPH in Health Systems (Hopkins). He has provided technical assistance and conducted research in over 10 countries in Africa and Latin America.

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