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Revista Cubana de Salud Pública

versión impresa ISSN 0864-3466versión On-line ISSN 1561-3127


ROJAS OCHOA, Francisco. The social component of the public health care in the 21st century. Rev Cubana Salud Pública [online]. 2004, vol.30, n.3. ISSN 0864-3466.

The objective of this paper is to present and to discuss the prevailing ideas that state that health care systems should be considered as social and cultural systems at the same time. To this end, a literature review on this topic was made. In the society, medicine is mainly in charge of fighting diseases; however, the criterion that human health requires that the organization of the society pays attention to disease prevention and health promotion has not paved its way yet. Health care systems should be both social and cultural systems. This has led to the population health approach in which a wide range of determining health patterns and a strategy aimed at the whole population are dealt with. The strategies should cover a wide range of health determinants such as 1) incomes and social position, 2) education 3) physical environment 4) employment and working conditions, 5) biological characteristics and genetic conditions, 6) development of a healthy child 7) social support networks and 8)health care services. The health care sector can not act by itself because most of the determining health care factors are outside its competence. This discloses the need for an inter-sector approach. The strategy for the development of the population health policy includes three lines: 1) to strengthen the understanding of population about the determining health factors and to promote people’s involvement in actions improving the population health, 2) to strengthen the awareness of the determining health factors and to support the population health approach in other governmental sectors different from the health care and in mass and social organizations, 3) to promote and develop comprehensive interdisciplinary and inter-sector health initiatives for key priorities that may have a significant potential impact on the population health


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