The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on structural and longstanding problems that are undermining the right to health, including fragmentation and inequalities within the health system. Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and guaranteeing gender-sensitive health public services require a people-centred and feminist approach to development finance that takes account of hard lessons learned during the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
In the 1980s and 1990s, national health systems in developing countries were transformed by structural adjustments programmes provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. This resulted in the contraction and decentralisation of public healthcare services, as well as the opening of the health sector to private providers, the introduction of healthcare user fees and an increased precariousness of health professionals’ labour conditions. These policies aggravated the commodification and privatisation of healthcare, resulting in increased inequalities.
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by María José Romero from Eurodad