Takemi Fellow at the Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea Senior Associate Dean for Policy Translation and Leadership Development, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA Managing Director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program, Boston, MA Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
A number of expert reports have pointed to serious problems with health care in many Latin American countries and argued the need to reform and improve health-care systems. In addition, the Ministers of Health of the Americas have stated that health systems should be accountable to citizens.
This paper examines, in each of 17 Latin American countries, public dissatisfaction with the health care to which people have access, the proportion of people reporting problems with access to and the cost of health care and the factors that are most important in driving public dissatisfaction.
Data are drawn from a 2007 Latinobarómetro survey of 19 212 adults interviewed face-to-face in 17 Latin American countries.
The proportion of people expressing dissatisfaction with their health care varies a great deal by country, as do the proportions reporting problems with access to and the cost of health care. Problems with access to care seem to matter most in trying to explain public dissatisfaction with their health care. More traditional measures of healthoutcomes and resources seem to matter less as drivers of dissatisfaction.
For governments trying to improve their citizens' satisfaction with the health care they receive, the highest priority would be improving people's basic access tohealth-care services. Also, it appears that democratic governments are seen as being more responsive to the public's needs in health care.