The Role of Civil Society and Community in Health Policy-Making
The concepts underlying public health policy have been evolving, with a basic shift in paradigm away from policies and action focused on individual behavior modification toward other policies that address the environment in which people live, work, and socialize, thus facilitating decision-making in matters related to health.
For over three decades, the United Nations has been issuing declarations that promote civil society and community involvement. Nonetheless, while citizen participation has intensified, in many cases it still does not live up to the spirit of those declarations. This section presents concrete examples of national, regional, and global accomplishments in this area.
Future efforts should lead to a more inclusive society in which the voices of all sectors can be heard. This will require an increase in the transparency of processes, information, and financing mechanisms and in the openness of governments to facilitating this involvement. PAHO collaboration will be needed in this process and in the defense of public policies against the business interests of certain stakeholders in the private sector.