Print version ISSN 0213-9111
VAZQUEZ, M. L. et al. The reform process and social participation in health in Latin America. Gac Sanit [online]. 2002, vol.16, n.1, pp.30-38. ISSN 0213-9111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112002000100005.
Currently, many countries throughout the world are reforming their health services. Even though these reforms differ according to the country's characteristics, they share many policies, one of which is the promotion of social participation in health-related matters. This policy, however, is not new in the field of health service organization. Throughout the last century, individual or collective collaboration between the population and health services has been promoted by several philosophies and concepts with different aims: from the search for collaboration with the general public to broaden public health system coverage to the promotion of the creation of mechanisms that would allow society to exercise control over these services' performance. Nevertheless, for the public to be involved with these services, several factors concerning both the services themselves and the population, need to converge. Although the theoretical frameworks that have encouraged social participation throughout the history of the development of health systems differ considerably, their practical implementation shares many common elements in all periods, from participation as a means of obtaining certain objectives to being an end in itself, as a democratic process. This can also be applied to the current promotion of social participation policies in the context of health care reforms, which are analyzed using Colombia and Brazil as examples.
Keywords : Health system reforms; Social participation; Latin America.