Public Health Capacity in Latin America and the
Pan American Health Organization - PAHO/WHO
Area of Health Systems Strengthening - Health Policies and Systems Unit - 2007
Available online PDF [80p.] at: http://www.lachealthsys.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=372
“….This document was developed based on an in-depth literature review. Sources included country assessments, journal articles, survey data, publications, international cooperation documents and national policy documents in English, Spanish and Portuguese. While the literature review was comprehensive, the paper could have benefited from additional grey literature from the countries in the Region, which can be difficult to locate and obtain since it is not widely disseminated. One of the goals of circulating this paper is the identification of additional examples of strategies and interventions for monitoring, evaluating and strengthening public health capacities by the countries at the national and sub-national levels.
In the first section of the document, the concepts and definitions of public health and the relationship between public health systems and health care systems are discussed. In addition, the rationale for using the term Public Health PH capacity instead of Public Health PH infrastructure is addressed.
The second section describes each of the elements of PH capacity in detail, outlines existing weaknesses, and identifies some strategies for strengthening and organizing PH capacities in the LAC Region.
The third section of the document discusses the application of several assessment tools developed by PAHO, WHO and other institutions in which the authors propose as inputs for assessing the current status of PH capacities.
The PH capacities as reflected in the literature and selected for this document are:
Public Health Workforce (PHWF) includes all workers whose primary responsibility is the provision of non-personal health services (core public-health). The PHWF can be divided in two categories: primary workforce including workers who are specifically in charge of public health activities or that hold job positions in public health; and secondary workforce, or those workers outside the health sector, usually from other ministries such as agriculture, transportation and education, international organizations and NGOs which also carry out public health activities.
Public Health Information Systems (PHIS) are defined as population-based and public health facility-based data sources. The main population-based sources of health information are census, household surveys and vital registration systems. The main public health facility-related data sources are public health surveillance, and data from the public health system and services, including systems for monitoring the PHWF, the allocation of financial resources, and public health technologies.
Public Health Technologies (PHT) include all of the physical resources and technologies used in the public health system, in addition to drugs and vaccines. These elements constitute the material foundation of the public health sector. They can also include equipment and medical devices, and support systems that allow the public health system to function adequately, such as public health laboratories, blood banks, etc.
Public Health Institutional and Organizational Capacity. Institutional capacity refers to the set of rules and norms that govern the functioning and operation of a public health system; it also determines the capability of the system to respond to public health challenges. Organizational capacity refers to an organization’s ability to effectively, efficiently and sustainably exercise its functions to contribute to the institutional mission and vision, and to the policies and strategic objectives of the organization. Organizational capacity is a component of institutional development and refers to the configuration/structure of organizations with a public health focus that function within a given institutional framework.
Public Health Financial Resources refers to the collection, utilization, and management of resources to carry out public health activities as well as the impact of these resources on the health of the population and the public health system…..”
Table of Contents
III. KEY CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS
IV. ELEMENTS OF PUBLIC HEALTH CAPACITY
V. FROM CONCEPTUALIZATION TO OPERATIONALIZATION: ASSESSING THE STATUS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH CAPACITY IN THE LAC REGION
VII. ANNEX I – STRENGTHENING PH CAPACITY: COUNTRY EXPERIENCES
VIII. ANNEX II - IHR CORE CAPACITIES
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