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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


ORTUN, Vicente. Public health: «politics hepl those coho help themselves [in health services]». Gac Sanit [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.6, pp.485-489. ISSN 0213-9111.

Poor countries health improves with the application of public health knowledge, but this requires from institutional capacity and political will, not automatically guaranteed by income growth alone. Generalized cost-benefit analysis, explicit establishment of priorities and even consensus (knowledge sharing) are suitable methods to select appropriate policies. Some problems, such as the increasing inequalities among countries or the global warming, may require a change of our institutions given than both market mechanisms and traditional policy intervention by nation-states may prove insufficient. «Politics help those coho help themselves (in the anvil of health services)» could be the motto for the necessary conciliation between individual and collective actions on health. It has a similar importance to act upon the differences between individuals with similar exposures as diminishing the global risk of those social groups where misfortunes cluster. In a country such a Spain the aforementioned conciliation happens though a Welfare State capable of achieving social 'desirability' based upon democratic legitimacy and effective behavior, effectiveness that can not be obtained without the best combination of clinical and Public Health interventions.

Keywords : Health determinants; Poverty/illness vicious circle; Generalized cost-benefit analysis; Establishment of priorities; Globalization; Welfare State; Public Health; Spain.

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