In recent decades the main social policy trends dominating the regional scene have been towards focalization, subsidies on demand, decentralization and privatization. These have led to increased social vulnerability and poverty, deteriorating health conditions and reduced access to services by the public has been raised. Once again the issue of how governments should ensure social protection for the public.
Nowadays there is greater diversity in terms of social decision-making and many such decisions have differed markedly from the hegemonic policies which were implemented in most countries in previous decades.
This publication deals with the debate surrounding the issue and seeks to provide a critical point of view and some perspective on the trends of recent policy and sector-specific reforms undertaken to ensure social protection in the area of health. It is based on alternative approaches to social issues, as well as on the concepts stemming from the analysis of different national experiences.
Amparo Hernández Bello is a physician holding a Master's degree in Health Administration from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public Health at the National University of Colombia and is an associate professor working with postgraduate students in Health Administration at the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia. She also was chair of the Colombian Association of Schools of Public Health (Acoesp) from 2006 to 2009.
Carmen Rico de Sotelo is a sociologist holding a doctorate in Computer Sciences from the Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada, where she is currently employed as a full professor. She was also the Dean of the Faculty of Communications (1993–1996) and Director of International Relations (1996–2002) at the Catholic University of Uruguay.