Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X
VAZQUEZ, María Luisa et al. Social participation in health: concepts of users and community leaders in two municipalities of Northeastern Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.19, n.2, pp.579-591. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2003000200025.
Social participation in management of the health care system at different levels of government is one of the key policies promoted by the Unified National Health System (SUS) in Brazil. As with any new policy, success hinges on several factors such as stakeholders' interests and opinions, which have not always been considered in the past. This paper analyzes the underlying concepts of two groups of stakeholders with respect to social participation in health and the potential influence of these concepts on the effectiveness of policy implementation. A case study of two municipalities in Northeast Brazil was conducted using a combination of qualitative and quantitative social science research methods. Health services users and community leaders were interviewed. Various concepts were found in which the participatory approach to health policies was only partially reflected. Likely influences on stakeholders' concepts of social participation in health are the evolution of the broader Brazilian social context and the traditional performance of health services. Particular attention should be paid to stakeholders' opinions and concepts if policy effectiveness is to be improved.
Keywords : Consumer Participation; Health Services; Health System.