On the 29 of May 2018, we met with the previous minister of health, Mr. Melitón Arce at the Colegio Medico del Peru, Miraflores (Medical School of Peru, Miraflores) in Lima. He explained to us how health system is managed in Peru, and how it enormously developed since the 90’s. One of the examples was the Peruvian constitution which was approved in 1993. It was composed by 206 statements and it was for the defense of human beings. Mr. Arce believed the main priority of health workers should be defining human beings; and the constitution wasn’t related to health only, but to all systems in the country. He also continued to emphasize further on the many aspects of the constitution such as congress, executive power and justice.
The congress in Peru is made of 130 members and they set regulations on what to do and what not of the systems. The executive power, the president, is the first authority of the country. It can also be a group of ministers; or a vice minister, such as himself when he was the minister of health. The last aspect of the Peruvian constitution was the justice, which is the supreme court.
Mr. Arce continued explaining other topics at the meeting, such as how the political system helped the health system. The general law of health was built mainly of privet institutions, yet there have been efforts in the last thirty years to combine public and privet institutions together under one category. Health system in general allows ministers to set laws and regulations. However, laws must be accepted first by the government. Thus, collaborations of public and privet sector worked hand in hand to address health issues and find solutions for them, the people. For example, when ministers’ requests road construction in a neighborhood, they should consult public and the privet sectors on the best method to establish it and then, they make decisions based on collected data. The problem still in Mr. Arce’s eyes isn’t the decision-making process, but convincing people to accept those decisions. In other words, they avoid sudden changes in decision making and allow sustainable growth to take place gradually in the country.
The last topic was discussed, health insurance. According to Mr. Arce, less than 1% of the population can afford to pay out of pocket for privet health care. Therefore, the Peruvian government ensures all people have the right to receive health care, regardless of their financial health. They also made it easier for people who find it difficult to afford healthcare by charging them only 5% of the health care expenses and the rest of the 95% will be covered by the government. Employees on the other hand are 25% covered because they are financially capable of paying healthcare bills, compared with unemployed or impoverished individuals.
The meeting was over with the previous minister of health. Mr. Arce was a kind host and took us in a short tour over their medical school. He talked us through the history of the school and when was it built. It was really fascinating to witness such an amazing building where culture and knowledge can be experienced at once!