introduction health is a decisive health factor for the well-being of individuals, families and communities, and a prerequisite for equitable development. Moreover, people have the right to equitable, efficient and attentive health care and society as a whole must ensure that no one is excluded from access to health services health and that they provide quality care for all users (United Nations, 2005).

Likewise, among the eight objectives

of the Millennium posed by the United health Nations, three relate directly to health: to reduce maternal and child mortality, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, while the other two, to eradicate poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability envisaged related topics: the increased access to health services, including access to essential drugs, safe water and sanitation, as well as the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition. In the Latin American region, the last decade has seen significant changes in the demographic and epidemiological profile of the population and changes in the management and financing of national health programs. This text therefore

examines these major changes, health as well as the health situation of the population and health care programmes of Latin American countries, on the basis of information from the responses of the respective ministries of Health to the ECLAC survey on the subject. Replies received from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela are summarized. The survey form and the list of countries, institutions and individuals who responded to the questions asked are presented in the health annex (see Tables 1 and 2 of the annex). Health policies and programs in Latin America. Problems and

  • proposals 8 the objective of the survey was to analyse, from the institutional perspective of the Ministries of Health, the health programmes under way in these countries and to capture the perception of national authorities about the reality and the specific health problems of their population. The responses show that there are health different
  • sociodemographic situations that are reflected in health-related problems in different countries. From the information collected in the surveys, a rather heterogeneous picture emerges as to the capacity of governments to respond to the health problems of their populations. Funding and management difficulties in meeting the health needs of its population are mentioned in most

countries. Inequality in the impact

of problems in health care arises health not only from issues of socio-cultural accessibility, geographical or both, but mainly from income disparity, which generates insufficient living conditions to prevent and meet the population’s health requirements. The present text is organized into five sections, the first of which describes the changes in the epidemiological and demographic profile; the second section presents the main findings of the survey, relating to policy changes in relation to health, an assessment of problems and causes associated with health; the third section analyses health system reforms; the fourth section examines ongoing programmes, their funding and management; and finally, it concludes with some health

suggestions for improving health health care systems. ECLAC-Social Policies Series No. 114 9 I. Changes in the demographic and epidemiological profile in the Latin American region during the last decades, the Latin American population has continued the process of demographic transition that is expressed in reductions in fertility and mortality rates and therefore in population growth rates. Thus, along with the increase in the life expectancy at birth of men and women, the age structure of the population has changed.1 between 1960-1965, most Latin American countries health

  • were in the early transition phase where mortality decreased while birth rate remained stable or increased as a result of better living conditions, thus both processes had an impact on high population growth. At present, countries are in the stages of full or advanced demographic transition, with declining birth rates health
  • while mortality stabilizes, with lower population growth (see Table 1). 1 the section on demographic change is based on Chapter II demographic transformations in Latin America and the Caribbean and their implications for public policies in the social landscape of health

Health policies and programs in Latin America

Problems and proposals 10 Table 1 Latin health America (20 countries): STAGES OF DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION * AND RATES OF POPULATION GROWTH, 2000-2005 (Rates of population growth between brackets) STAGES OF DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION, 2000-2005 Moderate Full Advanced Guatemala (3.0) Bolivia (2,2) Argentina health (1.1) Colombia (1,7) Brazil (1,4) Ecuador (1,8) Costa Rica (1.5) The Savior (1,9) Cuba (0,5) Haiti (2,1) Chile (1,1) Honduras And (2.5) Uruguay (0,8) Mexico (1,7) Nicaragua (2,4) Panama (1,8) Paraguay (2,5) Peru (1,7) Dominican Republic (1,8) Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (1,8) * According to classification of the Population Division-CELADE of

  • ECLAC. Source: Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC, 2005), social health Panorama of Latin America Edition 2004, LC / G. 2259-P Santiago de Chile. In the period 1950/55 the population growth rates reached 2.7% per annum now reach 1.5%. However, the rate of population growth varies markedly between different age groups.
  • The proportion of children decreases, while the proportion of adults and older adults increases. Thus “ ” at present, the greatest absolute growth corresponds to the population aged