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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064

Rev. salud pública vol.24 no.1 Bogotá Jan./Feb. 2022  Epub Aug 08, 2022 

Special Section

Ongoing Seminar 2021 Historical and International Perspective of the Colombian Health System

Jairo Humberto Restrepo Zea1 

Carlos Agudelo Calderón2 

1 Health Economics Group School of Economics University of Antioquia

2 Institute of Public Health School of Medicine National University of Colombia

The "Ongoing Seminar 2021: Historical and International Perspective of the Colombian Health System" was held in the first semester of the year 2021 with the participation of thirty speakers or panelists, twenty-two of them residents in Colombia and eight from abroad, all of them belonging to universities, research centers and international agencies. It was organized by the Health Economics Group of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Antioquia and the Public Health Group, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Colombia.

The seminar was designed as an open access virtual academic activity, from historical and international perspectives, fed by plural visions coming from disciplines such as economics, sociology, political science, and public health, with systemic, comparative, and prospective analysis approaches. The seminar was carried out with the purpose of advancing in-depth analysis of the institutional processes, achievements, problems, and perspectives of the health system in Colombia, to serve as a basis for debate and policy proposals in the scenarios of democratic analysis of the options that the health system has, in the present and in the future.

The seminar initially included three theoretical or contextual sessions, the first dedicated to reviewing the perspective of health systems in middle-income countries, with Anne Mills as opening speaker; the second to discussing the role of the State and the market, with keynote lectures by Ana Sojo, and Jorge Iván González, and the third to raising and discussing aspects of measuring health outcomes, with the participation of Frederico Guanais of the OECD, Daniel Maceira, and Sergio Prada. The seven sessions were dedicated to discussing the design and evolution of the Colombian system, framed within the fundamental functions of health systems.

These sessions addressed issues related to stewardship and governance, financing, service delivery and public health. The right to health and primary health care were also discussed. The closing of the seminar was devoted to discussing the perspectives of the health system in times of pandemic.

This special section of the Revista de Salud Pública presents articles derived from some of the conferences of the seminar. An analytical approach to the evolution of the health system (Restrepo), an analysis of the market and goods (González), financing and spending in the health system (Barón and Espinal) are published. On the other hand, an analysis of the efficiency of service providers (Prada) and an analysis of equity and quality (Maceira) are presented. Two articles deal with primary care and health policies in the context of the pandemic (Hernández and Ríos; Ortega and Rincón). Aspects of prevention and health promotion are addressed in the articles by Franco and Robledo.

We hope that the reading of these documents will serve as a basis for understanding the problems of the Colombian health system and as inspiration for the design of future options for this system. The recordings of the seminar sessions are available on the institutional YouTube channel of the Faculty of Medicine of the National University of Colombia (

Sessions of the Permanent Seminar 2021: "Historical and international perspective of the Colombian health system" 

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