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Towards a more equitable, gender-focused and community-led primary health care in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is an upper middle-income country with notable progress in human development largely attributable to its successful establishment of universal health care, education and social protection programmes.

Nevertheless, the country faces a series of challenges, including elevated degrees of inequality, intensified and escalated by the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.During the COVID-19 pandemic, PAHO/WHO supported the Government of Costa Rica in implementing a community participation and intersectoral action approach to boost Primary Health Care (PHC) whereby communities identified areas for action.

The approach was successful and is being extended, in tandem with development partners, to further accelerate progress towards health-related SDGs in the country.

The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and wellbeing (SDG3 GAP) is being used as a platform to facilitate inter-agency exchange of expertise and information leading to an overall increased impact of support to the country.Building on existing collaborations to maximise impactLed by local government, intersectoral committees were established to identify and prioritize social determinants of health that are affecting the community, several of which were enhanced by the pandemic.

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