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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


VILLALBI, Joan R. et al. On the exercise of health authority: principles, regulations and uncertainty. Gac Sanit [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.2, pp.172-175. ISSN 0213-9111.

Implementing health authority is a basic public health service. Part of the responsibility of public health managers is to ensure compliance with regulations. These are developed when certain risks are considered inadmissible. Mostly, the exercise of health authority deals with the routine application of detailed norms, although there is always some uncertainty, as shown by the frequent use of cautionary measures by health officers during inspections. However, epidemiologic surveillance periodically involves situations in which human health is damaged and there is no reference regulation; in these situations, health authorities must act according to their own criteria, weighing the risks of intervention against those of nonintervention. In this article, we present 3 such scenarios: using coercion in the treatment of patients with smear-positive tuberculosis, regulation of activities with soy beans posing asthma risks, and setting limits to the professional activity of an HIV-positive physician.

Keywords : Health authority; Regulation; Epidemiologic surveillance; Law.

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