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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


BRONFMAN, MARIO et al. From "how many" to "why": Health services utilization from the users' perspective. Salud pública Méx [online]. 1997, vol.39, n.5, pp.442-450. ISSN 0036-3634.

Parallel to the National Health Survey-II, in 1994 a qualitative study was conducted on the patterns and microsocial determinants of health services utilization. The study was conducted in eight urban areas from all over the country among middle class and middle-low class sectors. A total of 192 individual open-ended interviews and eight focus groups were completed among users of health services; 61 service providers both from public and private services were also interviewed. This paper reports the main findings regarding the users’ perspective. The first part summarizes the conceptual and methodological design. The second part presents the results from the users’ point of view. Individuals distinguish between "becoming sick" and "falling sick"; preventive measures are adopted when becoming sick, in order to avoid falling sick. Another finding refers to the population tendency to add up different and even contradictory curative paradigms, as opposed to the modern medical paradigm which tends to exclude any competing alternative knowledge. A third series of findings refers to the dilemmas that utilizing health services poses for the population, given the high costs, and the low quality that characterize these services, according to the users’ point of view. This paper concludes with a series of recommendations for policies, aimed at improving the quality of the health services provided to the population.

Keywords : health services [utilization]; quality of health care; Mexico.

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