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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


SAINZ-RUIZ, Pablo Alberto; MINGUEZ-ARIAS, Jorge  and  MARTINEZ-RIERA, José Ramón. Health councils as an instrument of community participation: a qualitative research in La Rioja (Spain). Gac Sanit [online]. 2019, vol.33, n.2, pp.134-140.  Epub Oct 21, 2019. ISSN 0213-9111.


To describe the functioning and regulations of health councils in La Rioja (Spain) as vehicles for citizen participation in health management.


A qualitative analysis was conducted triangulating the national and regional institutional framework reviews of health councils, the official minutes of 58 meetings, and 11 semi-structured interviews with related persons.


The analysis revealed a predominantly biomedical-technological standpoint, a lack of training in community participation dynamics, and an absence of structure in council operations. The councils were also found to be over-powered by public healthcare administration and restricted to a role of simply transmitting information, thereby neglecting an opportunity for proactive community involvement.


In spite of these shortcomings, community health councils can operate as efficient instruments in health management as long as the necessary political will and appropriate community awareness both exist.

Keywords : Health councils; Community participation; Health promotion; Health policy.

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