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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


INFANTE, Alberto; MATA, Isabel de la  and  LOPEZ-ACUNA, Daniel. Health sector reform in Latin America and the Caribbean: situation and trends. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.8, n.1-2, pp.13-20. ISSN 1680-5348.

In the early 1990s, most Latin American and Caribbean countries were beginning, or planning to begin, health sector reform processes. This paper presents the status and trends of health sector reform at the end of the 1990s. The authors relied on information in 20 health system and services profiles completed by the Pan American Health Organization between August 1998 and October 1999. The analysis, which follows a methodology that had been applied earlier, was organized on two different levels: (1) monitoring the reform processes (dynamics and content) and (2) evaluating their outcomes. In looking at the dynamics of the reform processes, the article examines the context in which they take place and the actors involved in their different phases: inception, design and negotiation, implementation, and evaluation. The description and analysis of the contents of health sector reform initiatives are organized into 12 broad thematic areas. Outcomes evaluation was only possible in the eight countries that provided enough pertinent information, and should be viewed as preliminary. Nevertheless, the article does present detailed information on the outcomes of health sector reform in terms of equity, effectiveness and quality, efficiency, sustainability, and societal participation and control. The article also discusses the potential causes and determining factors for the observed outcomes.

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