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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

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


HERRERA VAZQUEZ, María Magdalena; RODRIGUEZ AVILA, Nuria; NEBOT ADELL, Carme  and  MONTENEGRO, Hernán. A network to promote health systems based on primary health care in the Region of the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.5, pp.261-273. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To identify the relational components of an international network of organizations that provide technical and financial assistance to promote the development of health systems based on primary health care in the countries of the Region of the Americas; to analyze the linkages that would allow the collaborating partners of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to work together on health issues; and to determine the basic theoretical elements that can help to develop action strategies that support advocacy efforts by a network. METHODS: This was a qualitative and quantitative cross-sectional study based on identifying key informants and on analyzing social networks. Ethnographic and relational information from 46 international organizations was collected through a self-administered semistructured questionnaire. From 46 international health cooperation organizations, 29 decisionmakers from 29 organizations participated (63.0% response rate). The structure and the strength of the network was evaluated in terms of density, closeness, clustering, and centralization. The statistical analysis was done using computer programs that included UCINET, Pajek, and Microsoft Access. RESULTS: We found a structurally centralized theoretical network, whose nodes were clustered into four central subgroups linked by a shared vision. The leadership, influence, and political interests reflected the formal and technical-cooperation linkages, the formal support for health systems based on primary health care, and the flow of resources being more often technical ones than financial ones. CONCLUSIONS: The interorganizational relational components and the social-action ties that were identified could help in the development and consolidation of a thematic network for advocacy and for the management of technical and financial assistance that supports primary health care in the Americas. The linkages for joint action that were identified could advance international cooperation in developing health systems based on primary health care, once PAHO formulates clear implementation strategies and takes a leadership position in mobilizing financial resources and in creating informal and interpersonal linkages for action.

Keywords : Primary health care; international cooperation; social environment; cooperative behavior; health services; Americas.

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