The First AmCham Health Conference: “Quality Healthcare is an Investment in Human Capital”

The first AmCham Healthcare Conference “Improving access to medications for all” was held on November 25th, gathering prominent domestic and international experts from many disciplines of healthcare and health systems management.

In his opening remarks, Dragan Davitkov, President of the Board of Directors of AmCham, stated that the main goal of this conference is to open a transparent and inclusive debate about the process of expanding the positive list of medicines, with the aim of providing Macedonian citizens with access to medicines that is comparable to the European average. He called for the prioritization of the health agenda and the necessary changes that should enable a sustainable and quality health system.

The occasion was attended by Dr. Vladimir Rendevski, Deputy Minister of Health, and Prof. Dr. Elizabeta Gjorgievska, First Lady of the Republic of North Macedonia.

The main speaker of the conference, prof. Dr. Rifat Atun from Harvard University in the US gave a presentation on the impact of various demographic, epidemiological, political, economic, socio-cultural and technological factors that lead to a crisis in the world’s health systems.  He proposed a solution in the form of a five-step theoretical model for healthcare system transformation, which includes: a change in institutional logic, inclusive partnerships, integrated action, investments in healthcare, and improved access to innovation. According to Professor Atun, health financing is not an expense, but an investment in human capital – resulting in measurable benefits and greater economic justification than many other sectors.

Dr. Slaveyko Djambazov, an international expert and consultant in health policy and technology, discussed the significance of health technology assessment practices in increasing the effectiveness of healthcare systems. According to him, evaluating health technology allows for better control and forecasting of health budgets, encourages effective solutions and transparency, and provides a better foundation for negotiating the price of medications and treatments.

The former director of the National Health Insurance Fund of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Tihomir Strizrep, spoke about sustainable financing of the health system, by upgrading the tender approach to public procurement, offering a methodology based on multiple criteria.

Dr. Zoltan Kalo of Semmelweis University in Budapest underlined the need of using data from real-world medical practice, with the goal of effective local adaptation of global theoretical systems to construct a health system with real value for users.

Four panels were held at the event, with topics ranging from “Sustainable financing in healthcare as a prerequisite for better access to medicines”, “How to unlock the reimbursement process?” to “Health care based on value and the need from real data” and “Harmonization with the EU in the areas of medicines and public procurement.”

The conference “Improving access to medicines for all” is the American Chamber of Commerce in North Macedonia’s first health conference, organized by companies that are members of AmCham’s Healthcare Committee.

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