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Revista Española de Salud Pública

versão On-line ISSN 2173-9110versão impressa ISSN 1135-5727


PINO, Sandra del et al. Ethnicity and health policy: Building equitable solutions in the face of ethnic inequalities. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2018, vol.92, e201809059.  Epub 26-Set-2018. ISSN 2173-9110.


The evidence highlights the importance of working with ethnicity in relation to the social determinants of health for the progressive achievement of universal access to health and universal health coverage. This implies that all people and communities have access, without any kind of discrimination, to comprehensive, appropriate and timely, quality health services, while ensuring that the use of these services does not expose users to financial hardship. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO) recognized the need for a political commitment and a consensual strategic framework to advance towards equity in health. As a result, in a participatory way, the first policy on ethnicity and health was elaborated and approved by the Ministries of Health in September 2017 during the 29th Pan American Sanitary Conference. This policy, promoted by PAHO / WHO, includes ethnicity as one of its four cross cutting themes for work, aligned with important global commitments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This article presents the way in which this political proposal was elaborated, and the challenges for its implementation. This policy takes into account the need to work together and reorient health services with an intercultural approach in order to improve the health conditions of indigenous peoples, afro-descendants, Roma people and other ethnic groups that coexist in the Americas region, who present health results more unfavorable than the rest of the population.


With the approval of the policy, the Americas becomes the first region of WHO to respond to the need to adopt an intercultural approach in the context of the social determinants of health. This is done by taking into account the gender and ethnic inequalities that interact, the differences in access to health throughout the life course, as well as the promotion and respect of individual rights and, in the case of indigenous peoples, collective rights.

Palavras-chave : Health policy; Ethnic origin and health; Equity in health.

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