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Implementation of promotion and prevention activities in decentralized health systems : comparative case studies from Chile and Brazil.

Atkinson, S. J. and Cohn, A. and Ducci, M. E. and Gideon, J. (2005) 'Implementation of promotion and prevention activities in decentralized health systems : comparative case studies from Chile and Brazil.', Health promotion international., 20 (2). pp. 167-175.


The policies for restructuring health systems in Latin America during the 1990s have included an emphasis on changing in the model of health care delivery to one that incorporates prevention and promotion activities. At the same time, health systems have been decentralized in their management, allowing room for greater variation in local interpretation and implementation of policy directives. Despite rhetoric and policy debate, there is no documentation or evaluation of actual experiences of prevention and promotion within decentralized health systems in Latin America. This paper explores the ways in which the national structure of a health system influences the implementation of activities for prevention and promotion through a comparison of the experiences in four local health systems in each of Brazil and Chile. These experiences in Brazil and Chile are presented by key themes of national health system structure, local health system structure, partnership and intersectorality, human resources and introducing a family health approach. Five clear factors emerge as operating at the national level that influence prevention and promotion activities in local health systems: vertical (Chile) versus horizontal (Brazil) structure of health system; greater awareness of prevention and promotion issues in Chile; greater urban bias in Chile compared with Brazil; strategies to attract human resources to primary care and rural areas; importance of local capacity building especially in rural areas. This account of case study experiences in Brazil and Chile provides a series of examples of arrangements and strategies that can facilitate implementation and usefully highlights a number of issues that policy-makers and health system managers need explicitly to consider. As such, the paper hopes to provoke debate about the structures and strategies for supporting the implementation of prevention and promotion programmes in Latin America and further health systems research in this field.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Full-text of article not available in Repository until June 2007.
Keywords:Prevention, Promotion, Decentralization, Latin America.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:June 2005
Date first made open access:No date available

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