Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
TORRES, Cristina. Equity in health as seen from an ethnic focus. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.10, n.3, pp.188-201. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892001000900015.
In this day and age, public policies that aim to improve equity cannot limit themselves to seeking greater access for all to the job market; the lack of equity is also reflected in unequal access to health services, to education, and to political representation. In order to understand and attempt to correct this unequal access, an approach is needed that takes into account all the sociodemographic factors that shape inequality in the Region of the Americas, most notably sex, ethnic origin, and race. This paper is the product of a request by the Member States of the Pan American Health Organization for PAHO to make known the influence that race, ethnic origin, and sex have on the state of health and on access to health care services. The paper examines how racial discrimination and other forms of intolerance, the low socioeconomic and educational level of certain ethnic and racial groups, and cultural beliefs exert a decisive influence on individuals' search for health care and their possibilities of enjoying good health. This subject is particularly important this year, when the United Nations is holding its World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.