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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


DELGADO GALLEGO, María Eugenia; VAZQUEZ NAVARRETE, María Luisa; ZAPATA BERMUDEZ, Yolanda  and  HERNAN GARCIA, Mariano. Social Participation in Health: User Community Leaders, Managers and Policy Makers in Colombia: A Qualitative View. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.79, n.6, pp.697-707. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: Health sector reforms taking place in Colombia during the Nineties included policies to promote social participation in the health system, which is considered essential to its functioning. The aim of this article is to analyse the meaning and the significance of participation in health for the different social actors involved in implementing policies in Colombia. Methods: A qualitative, descriptive, exploratory study was carried out using focal groups (FG) and semi-structured individual interviews (I) of the different social actors: 210 users (FG), 40 community leaders (FG), 3 policy makers (E) and 36 healthcare professionals (E). A carried out analysis was content up of the contents. The study area corresponded to the municipalities of Tulua and Palmira in Colombia. Results: The concept of participation was interpreted differently depending on the actor studied: for users and leaders the concept referred to contributing ideas, presence in social spaces, solidarity and frequently, and use of the health services. Healthcare professionals considered the activities carried out by institutions together with the community as social participation, the use of services and affiliation to the health system. Policy markers considered participation to concern evaluation and control of the health services by the community, to improve its quality. Conclusions: The different concepts of participation reveal differences between the content of the policy and how it is understood and interpreted by the different social actors in their interaction with the health services. These different perspectives must be taken into account to develop a link between society and the health services.

Keywords : Participación en salud; Investigación cualitativa; Colombia.

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