Symposium on the role of schools of public health in the development of health care in the Americas

Publication year: 1974

Focusing on total human health resources is not usual, nor are plans that have achieved consistent changes. To study the problem, we define as central its links with the organizational style of the system that absorbs the human resources and with the mechanisms that govern health personnel policies. The role of several insufficiently well-known variables is noted with regard to the last point: (1) the power structure in the sector; (2) tendencies toward professionalization; (3) the population's spontaneous orientation toward the various disciplines. In stating the need to influence such variables, we first note certain limitations in the Americas on planning: (1) its inadaptability to countries with a fragmented social administration; (2) the excessive prestige of numbers; (3) its prospective imprecision. Next, we discuss several courses of possible action in our societies: (1) formalizing mechanisms suitable for the formulation of human resources policies, which must link their training with their use; (2) definition of a future organizational model of the system that will absorb them; (3) orientation of the population through discussion of the policies with community organization; (4) preferring the internal diversification of a few professions to the creation of new and too ad-hoc disciplines. Finally, we assign to public health schools an important role in promoting these changes through revision of their traditional responsibilities and participation in a coherent political effort to bring about change in the health system. (AU)