09 July 2020

Tracking Covid-19 Across LAC: Interview with Claudio Castillo

Every Woman Every Child is delighted to partner with the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America (CHELA) of Tulane University, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and the recently established Public Health Center Program of the University of Santiago de Chile to launch the ISLAC Project, a Latin American and Caribbean-wide study to gather information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services for women, children, and adolescents across the region. To learn more about the study, EWEC spoke with Claudio Castillo, Professor of the Public Health Center Program at the University of Santiago de Chile.

1. Why is it so important to collect this real-time Covid-19 in LAC? What needs are the project fulfilling?

In the midst of a pandemic generated by a new virus, with evidence in constant development and not enough attention paid to health problems of women, children and adolescents, we seek to provide information for governments and authorities to make informed decisions, and so that they know the impact. This study will provide an overview of what has happened to health services for women, pregnant women, children and adolescents and what would happen if these health services were reduced.

En el marco de una pandemia generada por un nuevo virus, con evidencias en constante desarrollo y una invisibilización en la agenda pública de las problemáticas de salud de la mujer, la niñez y la adolescencia, buscamos aportar información para que los gobiernos y las autoridades tomen decisiones informadas, y para ello necesitan saber el impacto. Este estudio permitirá entregar una mirada sobre lo que ha ocurrido con los servicios de salud para mujeres, embarazadas, niños y niñas y adolescentes y que pasaría si se reducen. 

2. Why is the LAC area in particular so important? 

Latin America and the Caribbean is a region with a high level of inequities and inequalities, though in recent years it has made progress in policies to expand health services for women, children and adolescents. That progress could be impacted by decisions taken in the context of the pandemic, whose worst effect would be to increase mortality in these groups and to reverse progress dramatically.

Latinoamerica y el Caribe es una región con un alto nivel de inequidades y desigualdades, que en los últimos años ha avanzado en políticas para ampliar los servicios de salud de la mujer, de la niñez y de la adolescencia, cuyos avances podrían verse impactados por las decisiones que se tomen en el marco de la pandemia, cuyo peor efecto sería que aumentara la mortalidad en estos grupos y volviéramos atrás de manera dramática. 

3. The ISLAC project will consist of real-time quantitative and qualitative research. What will that research look like and how will the data be collected? How big will the team be and what is the timeline for the project? 

This study has been designed in six activities [or parts], with official information and data published by the press in each country. That data will be complemented by information-gathering through a questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The team is composed of researchers from both universities and graduate students from Tulane University. The report with all the countries is expected to be available by December.

Este estudio se ha diseñado por actividades, con levantamiento de información oficial y datos publicados por la prensa de cada país, que se complementará con levantamiento de información mediante un cuestionario y entrevistas en profundidad. El equipo está integrado por investigadores de ambas Universidad y estudiantes de postgrado de la Universidad de Tulane. Se espera tener para diciembre el reporte con todos los países. 

4. How will the data collection focus on maternal, childhood, and adolescent health?

This study consists of six activities [or parts]. The first one is a scientific literature review and national press review and a second one considers the gathering of official information reported by the 25 countries. In a third one, an online questionnaire—available in four languages—will be administered to designers and implementers of actions for these groups in the territories, mainly health but complemented with other informants. A fourth activity consists of conducting semi-structured interviews with key actors in the different countries. The last activities consist of analyzing all the information collected in order to agree on results and propose recommendations, and, finally, presenting the report.

Este estudio considera 6 actividades, una primera de revisión de literatura científica y revisión de prensa nacional, una segunda considera el levantamiento de información oficial que han reportado los 25 países. En una tercera se administrará un cuestionario en línea -disponible en 4 idiomas- a diseñadores y ejecutores de acciones para estos grupos en los territorios, principalmente de salud pero complementada con otros informantes. Una cuarta actividad considera realizar entrevistas semi estructuradas con actores clave de los distintos países. Las últimas actividades consideran el análisis de toda la información recolectada para consensuar resultados y proponer recomendaciones, y por último presentar el informe.

5. What will the data be used for and how can it inform public policies and the allocation of resources? 

The main product is a document with practical recommendations on how to resume health and social protection services for women, children and adolescents in the different countries, once the most acute phase of the pandemic is over, and an estimate of the impacts that a deprioritization of public policies for these groups could have. It will be presented at the regional meeting of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) in Mexico on December 4, 2020.

El principal producto es un documento con recomendaciones prácticas sobre cómo retomar los servicios de salud y protección social para la mujer, la niñez y adolescencia en los distintos países, una vez que se supere la fase más aguda de la pandemia, y una estimación de los impactos que podría tener una despriorización de políticas públicas para estos grupos, para presentar en la reunión regional del Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) en México el 4 de diciembre de 2020.