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Exchange between the National University of General Sarmiento (UNGS) and the Alliance for Health

On September 1, 2023, a meeting to exchange experiences was held in the city of Maputo between the National University of General Sarmiento (UNGS), in Buenos Aires – Argentina, and the Alliance for Health.

The exchange was suggested by Marcelo Ochoa, professor and researcher at UNGS, who, while carrying out work in Mozambique, identified the Alliance for Health network as an entity from which he could learn more about activism work in defence of the right to health.


This team from Argentina was made up of 3 people: Marcelo Ochoa (teacher and researcher), Gisela Sasso (journalist, researcher and teacher) and Victoria Allende (activist and teacher).

A half-day agenda was proposed, which began with a presentation on the Mozambican health system, the programs, the health sector governance system, citizen participation mechanisms and the respective challenges. After that, there was a presentation of the Alliance for Health, as well as the context of its creation, objectives, mission, vision, pillars and advances since then.


The UNGS team presented the Argentine health system, the state organization, the universal health care system, the challenges of access to health and primary health care. In the second part of their presentation, they spoke about the role of civil society in primary health care, the integration of the health system and medical training policies.


From this exchange it was possible to capture similarities between the two health systems despite different contexts and economic systems, with Argentina's being more developed than Mozambique's.


Both contexts have health as a fundamental, universal human right, recognized in the constitution of the National Republic. And, in the case of Argentina, reinforced by the incorporation of international human rights declarations and treaties with constitutional force since 1994.


The Argentine health system is made up of three subsectors: public or state financed by public funds, social security financed by worker contributions (3 to 6% of salary) and medical companies (prepaid medical insurance companies, contributions of its clients. And it is characterized by internal fragmentation and unequal coverage/provision for the population as a whole. The Argentine health system also has a greater focus on disease and not so much on health. Therefore, there is more investment in cures of diseases and not in their prevention.

The decentralization processes that took place in Argentina during the 1990s were more fiscally motivated, without promoting citizen participation or provisions in terms of policy coordination and compensation between regions. For Ochoa, decentralization worsened the situation in Argentina, as it worsened inequalities. There was decentralization of work and not of funds.


Like Mozambique, Argentina also has health programs, namely REMEDIAR (2002), SUMAR (2004), among others, with a view to guaranteeing coverage for citizens who are not covered by either social security or insurance.


According to Ochoa, there is a commodification of health in Argentina, which significantly influences the medical courses most offered and sought after by students.


Looking at the situation in Mozambique, Ochoa indicates that our country is doing very well in terms of the relationship between citizenship and the health sector, something that is still a new experience in his country.

To conclude, Ochoa indicated that his country should consider primary health care as a priority; improving access, promoting homogeneous coverage for the entire population, with high quality services; thinking about new paradigms, new training approaches; looking at primary health care as a participatory and collective process (through local councils); and that the system should be integrated, integral and universal.


Argentina is currently implementing a strategy to recover money spent in public health units on people who have insurance. The coordination of the Alliance for Health requested the document and the possibility of Ochoa presenting it at the conference to present research on financing the health sector in Mozambique.


In terms of synergies, the two entities can and will continue to interact for research and advocacy actions, citizen campaigns, an area that interests Argentina most in the health sector.


The members of the Alliance for Health (N’weti and OCS) who produce a newsletter, have committed to integrating this team into the email list for sharing.