Author(s): Goic A, Armas R
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Abstract In Chile there has been a close interaction between medical teaching and health care. In 1943, the University of Chile School of Medicine (founded in 1833) created Chairs in several public hospitals. The University of Chile School of Public Health (founded in 1943) played a key role in the creation in 1952 of a centralized National Health Service (NHS). The NHS had outpatient clinics and hospitals all over the country and was responsible for health care and for the promotion of health and disease prevention programs. In 1954, the NHS and the School of Medicine set up Residencies and General Practitioners programs aimed at improving the distribution of specialists and general practitioners throughout the country. In 1979, the NHS was replaced with 27 autonomous Health Services headed by the Ministry of Health, while the administration of primary care outpatient clinics was transferred to the municipal government. However, sanitary programs were still managed at the central level. Higher education also expanded and was decentralized. There are currently 60 universities and 17 medical schools, compared to eight and six, respectively, in 1981. The number of students in higher education has increased by 370\% in 20 years. At the present time, the Chilean health case system is a predominantly public system with a strong and sizeable private system. Sixty two percent of the population is covered by public health insurance, while 27\% is covered by private insurance. New and well equipped private clinics have multiplied. Private non profit institutions manage the prevention and treatment of work related injuries and diseases. Chile's outstanding health indicators (fertility rate: 17.2 x 1,000; mortality: 5.4 x 1,000; maternal mortality: 2.3 x 10,000; neonatal mortality: 4.5 x 1,000; life expectancy: 76 years) are a direct consequence of the improved social, cultural and economic condition of the general populations as well as of the sanitary programs sustained over the past half century.
This article was published in Rev Med Chil
and referenced in Review of Public Administration and Management