Persons Caring For Persons: A Public Health Policy Architecturally Presented

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Fernando Carbone-Campoverde


Background: In 2001 a number of limitations and inconsistencies were noted in the Peruvian national health system. In addition to long-standing structural issues, challenges emerged related to social determinants of health as well as health workers’ attitudes and skills. Objectives: The purpose of this paper is to describe some of the national health policy changes that the Ministry of Health of Peru considered necessary in 2002 to address the prevailing challenges and the particular implementation of such policies. Methods: The formulation of the desired national health policy changes were based on critical readings of the pertinent scientific literature, the collation of national health policy experience, and consultations with Ministry officers and recognized national experts. Results:  The thrust of the national health policy changes, involving the crucial relationship between service providers and users resulting from such process was summarized by the dictum “Persons Caring for Persons” (In Spanish, “Personas que Atendemos Personas”). In order to extend the impact of this policy dictum, it was decided to inscribe it right under the Ministry’s name on the façade or frontispiece of the Ministry’s central building in Lima, the capital of Peru. Discussion: The focus of health care on persons was based on well considered Peruvian and international experience, particularly those maturing at the World Health Organization since the Alma Ata Declaration. The dictum “Persons Caring for Persons” has remained present in national health discussions as well as on the frontispiece of the Ministry’s central building across several changes in national political leadership over the past 13 years. Conclusions: The policy statement “Persons Caring for Persons”, reflects well considered national experience and wisdom, consistent with growing international aspirations. Its endurance over many years calls for renewed efforts to deepen such perspectives towards greater respect for human rights and the full humanization of health care and social life.

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Project 2000: Project and research developed with the Ministry of Health and supported by USAID, Research CAP: research on skills, attitudes and practices of providers of services of the Ministry of Health of Peru, Survey on evaluation of the satisfaction of users and reasons for not using health services, 2000.

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Medicus Mundi Navarra and Salud Sin Limites Perú: Cuidar a los que Cuidan (Caring for those who are caring). Boletín Electrónico de Medicus Mundi Navarra, June 2014.

Ministerio de Salud del Perú (Peru’s Health Ministry): “Modelo Integral de Salud Basado en la Familia y la Comunidad” ("Health Integral Model Based on Family and Community"), 2012.

Medicus Mundi Navarra. “Claves para la Transformación de los Sistemas de Salud de América Latina” (“Key points for transforming health systems in Latin America”), Pag. 37, 2013.