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J Community Health. 2001 Apr;26(2):133-47.

Assessing community health among indigenous populations in Ecuador with a participatory approach: implications for health reform.

Author information

1
University of San Francisco de Quito, Círculo de Cumbayá, Quito, Ecuador.

Abstract

Health reform is an important movement in countries throughout the region of the Americas, which could profoundly influence how basic health services are provided and who receives them. Goals of health sector reform include to improve quality, correct inefficiencies, and reduce inequities in current systems. The latter may be especially important in countries with indigenous populations, which are thought to suffer from excess mortality and morbidity related to poverty. The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a community health assessment conducted in 26 indigenous communities in the Province of Cotopaxi in rural Ecuador. It is hoped that this information will inform the health reform movement by adding to the current understanding of the health and socioeconomic situation of indigenous populations in the region while emphasizing a participatory approach toward understanding the social forces impacting upon health. This approach may serve as a model for empowering people through collective action. Recommended health reform strategies include: 1) Develop a comprehensive plan for health improvement in conjunction with stakeholders in the general population, including representatives of minority groups; 2) Conduct research on the appropriate mix between traditional medicine, primary health care strategies, and high technology medical services in relation to the needs of the general population; 3) Train local health personnel and traditional healers in primary health care techniques; 4) Improve access to secondary and tertiary health services for indigenous populations in times of emergency; and 5) Advocate for intersectoral collaboration among government institutions as well as non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

PMID:
11322753
DOI:
10.1023/a:1005281314274
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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