The Life Sciences and Health (LSH) track to Cali & Bogota (Colombia) was led by Vice Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports Erik Gerritsen which took place from 25th  – 29th of November, part of the Economic Mission led by Prime Minister Rutte.

Colombia and the Netherlands are no strangers, moreover the Netherlands has a warm and active relationship with policymakers and decision-makers in the Colombian health sector. Over 25 organisations from the Kingdom of the Netherlands participated in the highly interactive health care track with hospital visits, seminars and overflow matchmaking appointments.

After the kick-off meeting and an informal meet & greet with Vice Minister Erik Gerritsen, the LSH delegation visited the high tech Valle de Lili University Hospital (third best hospital in Latin America according to the ranking of AméricaEconomía magazine) in Cali where they got a tour of the diagnostics, trauma and integrated medical centre.

Despite the expansion of high-quality private hospitals and the growing healthcare system, Colombia has remote and scattered areas with worrying health indicators. The country is, therefore, striving to increase quality health services to rural health areas with projects such as MIAS. On the second day of the mission, the LSH delegation visited the Hospital Raul Orejuela Bueno Palmira rural health in post where they got a presentation about the successful MIAS project. The Comprehensive Health Care Model (MIAS) has reported to have made historic improvement in the province of Guania in health indicators such as access to health services from 17% to 79% and zero maternal death. It’s predictable that this model can be replicated in other regions of Colombia according to Public Hearing on the Implementation of MIAS.

After the visit to Hospital Raul Orejuela Bueno Palmira, the LSH delegation had a very special and productive meeting discussing potential collaboration opportunities with Mr. Sarmiento Angulo’s team at the state of the art Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo Cancer Treatment & Research Center. Mr. Sarmiento Angulo is considered to be one of Colombia’s most prudent and wealthiest entrepreneurs, his Cancer Treatment & Research Center is promised to have approximately 280 beds and is to be opened in 2021.

The final day of the mission in Bogotá was quite memorable as almost 160 participants attended the interministerial dialogue on the subject of “Strategies to Improve Health Sector Quality “with Dutch Vice Minister Erik Gerritsen and Colombian Vice Minister  Mr. Iván Gonzalez.

The successful economic mission included great interaction, inspiration and networking opportunities.

Bart Scheerder – UMCG : “We established a large number of contacts, of course connecting with people is one of the key things during missions.”

We look forward to welcoming our Colombian counterparts at the World of Health Care 2019 on 26 September 2019!