Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
MOREIRA, Marcelo Rasga and ESCOREL, Sarah. Municipal Health Councils of Brazil: a debate on the democratization of health in the twenty years of the UHS. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2009, vol.14, n.3, pp. 795-806. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232009000300015.
Over 17 years, Health Councils were created in the 5,564 Brazilian towns, recruiting about 72,000 councilors. Authors affirm that the institutionalization of the Council is important for the democratization of municipal health policy, as it increases the actors who are participating in its decision-making process. However, they state that this is not enough to make this process fully democratized. This setting is investigated through a new census research about the functioning of the Municipal Health Councils. To understand it, we use three analytical dimensions (autonomy, organization and access) made up of 18 variable. The analysis of results shows that the MHCs have problems with autonomy and organization and good performance in access. Distribution by population size reveals that the best results are in the MHCs of towns with more than 250,000 inhabitants, and the worst are those in towns with a population below 50,000. The problems identified are reactions to the institutionalization of the MHCs. These reactions come from governors who consider the attributes and the deliberative character of the MHCs to be threatening to their interests. They occur due to their low cost, as the rules of the decision-making process do not discourage them. Here, we seek to understand reactions and rules, presenting proposals for overcoming problems.
Keywords : Democratization; Participation; Health policy.