Primary health care research in Bolivia: systematic review and analysis

Francisco N Alvarez, Mart Leys, Hugo E Rivera Mérida, Giovanni Escalante Guzmán
2015 Health Policy and Planning  
Bolivia is currently undergoing a series of healthcare reforms centred around the Unified Family, Community and Intercultural Health System (SAFCI), established in 2008 and Law 475 for Provision of Comprehensive Health Services enacted in 2014 as a first step towards universal health coverage. The SAFCI model aims to establish an intercultural, intersectoral and integrated primary health care (PHC) system, but there has not been a comprehensive analysis of effective strategies towards such an
more » ... s towards such an end. In this systematic review, we analyse research into developing PHC in Bolivia utilizing MEDLINE, the Virtual Health Library and grey literature from Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization's internal database. We find that although progress has been made towards implementation of a healthcare system incorporating principles of PHC, further refining the system and targeting improvements effectively will require increased research and evaluation. Particularly in the 7 years since establishment of SAFCI, there has been a dearth of PHC research that makes evaluation of such key national policies impossible. The quantity and quality of PHC research must be improved, especially quasi-experimental studies with adequate control groups. The infrastructure for such studies must be strengthened through improved financing mechanisms, expanded institutional capacity and setting national research priorities. Important for future progress are improved tracking of health indicators, which in Bolivia are often out-of-date or incomplete, and prioritization of focused national research priorities on relevant policy issues. This study aims to serve as an aid towards PHC development efforts at the national level, as well as provide lessons for countries globally attempting to build effective health systems accommodating of a multi-national population in the midst of development.
doi:10.1093/heapol/czv013 pmid:25953966 fatcat:bg4z3elt4ve6xj7gqyfinxlrvu