As part of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera’s official visit to Montevideo, health authorities in Chile and Uruguay signed a memorandum of understanding in public health, aiming to further collaboration over the next three years.
The deal will comprise areas such as organ donation, registering vaccines, healthy lifestyles and obesity, mental health, cancer, environmental health and toxicology, healthy aging, Covid-19 training for health professionals, and other issues agreed upon by both countries. The three-year period may be extended provided both parties are in agreement.
While announcing the deal, Chile’s Health Minister Enrique Paris highlighted mental health as a pressing challenge for both countries. Despite mounting one of the most effective Covid-19 responses in the continent, Chile is struggling with the psychological strain the pandemic has had on the population. As of August, sick leaves already surpassed the entire total for 2020, and 27 percent of the 5.2 million requests were related to mental health issues.
Mr. Paris also noted that the industrial plant and research center Sinovac plans to build in Chile could help foster health cooperation across Latin America, as it will be able to supply the region with CoronaVac vaccines. The facility will not manufacture the immunizers themselves, however, only bottling and packaging them.