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Healthcare Financing and Governance in Latin America

IJED, Vol. 6 No. 4, (2004)

The main objective of this study was to identify trends and results associated with health financing and governance indicators in the context of health systems reform. Evaluative research integrating qualitative and quantitative analysis was performed. The three Latin American countries of Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru were selected as the universe of study. The research methodology had two main phases. In the first phase, the study referred to secondary sources of data and documents to obtain information about the following variables: type of decentralization implemented, source of finance, funds of financing, providers, final use of resources and mechanisms for resource allocation. In the second phase, the study referred to primary data collected in a survey of key personnel from the health sectors of each country. Results showed that evidence reported in all five financing and governance indicators may identify the major weaknesses and strengths in health financing. In addition, there was a lack of human resources trained in health economics who can implement changes, a lack of financial resources independence between the local and central levels, negative behavior of the main macro-economic variables, and difficulty in developing new financing alternatives. However, other results showed that there was a sharing between the central and local government levels in the financing health services, the implementation of new organizational structures for the follow-up of financial changes at the local level, the development and implementation of new financial allocation mechanisms taking into account efficiency and equity principles, new technique of a per-capita adjustment factor corrected at the local health needs, and the increase of financing contributions from households and local levels of government.

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