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Latin America must invest more in science to beat the pandemic: UNESCO

Reuters. – Latin America and the Caribbean should increase investment in science and technology To strengthen its unstable health systems and overcome the COVID-19 pandemicWho revealed the gaps in the most unequal region of the planet, said a prominent representative of UNESCO in the region.

Low investment in science compared to developed countries complicates vaccine production in a region that is lagging behind in vaccination campaigns due to difficulties in obtaining doses.

The region has to do More investment in science, technology and innovation. “This epidemic has shown us the great importance of having robust scientific systems,” said Lydia Prieto, UNESCO Director of Science for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We are the region with the highest inequality index on the planet (…) A large part of the health systems in Latin America and the Caribbean were precarious before facing Covid-19 (…) The epidemic has shone a spotlight on this and necessarily doubled inequality and the quality of care. “

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UNESCO is organizing the Open Science Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean (# cilac2021) from April 26-28 in Buenos Aires, a space for dialogue where governments, universities and civil society discuss the region’s science and technology agenda to share actions.

Latin America, which has invested on average between 0.6 and 0.7% of GDP for more than a decade, well below 3-4% of GDP in developed countries, has become the region in greatest need of vaccines in the world. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said last week.

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“The slow vaccination process that we are witnessing in the region demonstrates our scientific and technological dependence on developed countries. Less than 0.5% of the vaccines currently approved are produced in the region.Britto is an African forest engineer based in Uruguay.

“Today we are talking about Covid-19, but we know that we have other diseases in Latin America that are still without vaccines, and therefore, without a doubt, investing in science (…) can help this region compensate for some of its shortcomings.”

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UNESCO is also concerned about An educational gap It has led to the spread of the epidemic and an increase in misinformation related to Covid-19, affecting people’s ability to make difficult decisions in times of uncertainty.

“Education is essential in reducing the inequality gaps that we have (…) Now what we need to do The guarantee is that we don’t hold back due to the pandemic From Covid-19 and the impacts on countries ’economies, ensuring that access to quality education for all remains a priority in Latin America,” Prieto said.

Although misinformation has always been around, the internet and social networks have multiplied their impact, which is why UNESCO encourages people to use data verification tools, such as PortalCheck (portalcheck.org), the region’s first digital space launched by the organization, promoting thinking Critical in Latin American Societies.

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