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Colombia Médica

On-line version ISSN 1657-9534


GOMEZ-ARIAS, Rubén Darío et al. Avoidable mortality and health policies. Colombia. 1985-2002. Colomb. Med. [online]. 2009, vol.40, n.4, pp.373-383. ISSN 1657-9534.

Introduction: Confidence in the capacity to avoid some deaths or to defer their occurrence is the foundation of any health public policy, one of whose main results should be to reduce avoidable mortality by controlling conditions that increase the risk of dying. Objectives: To establish trend variations in avoidable mortality (AM), registered in Colombia between 1985 and 2002, as an indicator of the effective impact that recent health reforms could have produced on the determinants of mortality. Methods: This is a study of AM, based on Colombian official registries of death and census projections, between 1985 and 2002. To determine the avoidability, an inventory of causes of AM (ICAM), based on the Holland and Taucher models, was applied to the data during the period analyzed. Results: Of the number of deaths registered, 75.3% were classified as avoidable. Seven tendency patterns were identified and each of them reflects, in particular, public-policy effects on mortality determinants. Conclusions: On the whole, AM has diminished in Colombia since 1985 among the general population and among men, without significant variations during the period. The trend variations observed of adjusted rates suggest deterioration in the control of AM determinants, particularly since 1990. Public policy changes applied in Colombia during the period have not been reflected in a better control of avoidable deaths, although health expenses have increased remarkably.

Keywords : Avoidable death; Mortality; Colombia; Health policy; Health reform.

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