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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


DELGADO GALLEGO, María Eugenia  and  VAZQUEZ-NAVARRETE, María Luisa. Awareness of the healthcare system and rights to healthcare in the Colombian population. Gac Sanit [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.5, pp.398-405. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To analyze changes in users' awareness of the healthcare system and of their rights to healthcare in Colombia in the last 10 years, as well as the factors that influence users' awareness. Methods: We carried out a descriptive study to compare the results of two cross-sectional studies based on two surveys of users of the Colombian healthcare system. The first survey was performed in 2000 and the second in 2010. The municipalities of Tuluá (urban area) and Palmira (rural area) were surveyed. In both surveys, a stratified, multistage probability sample was selected. There were 1497 users in the first sample and 1405 in the second. Changes in awareness of the healthcare system and associated factors in each year were assessed through multivariate logistic regressions. Results: Users' awareness of the healthcare system was limited in 2000 and was significantly lower in 2010, except for that relating to health insurers and providers. In contrast, more than 90% of users in both surveys perceived themselves as having healthcare rights. The factors consistently associated with greater awareness were belonging to a high socioeconomic stratum and having higher education. Conclusions: The most underprivileged users were less likely to be aware of the healthcare system, hampering their ability to make informed decisions and to exercise their health rights. To correct this situation, health institutions and the government should act decisively to reduce social inequalities.

Keywords : Healthcare systems; Healthcare rights; Health policy; Social determinants; Users' survey; Awareness; Colombia; Latin America.

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