Chile: the adult health policy challenge by World Bank

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It is now timely to consider parallel reforms and upgrading of preventive health services. There are three main reasons why reforms affecting preventive services should go hand-in-hand with reforms of curative services: (a) Reallocation of resources from curative to preventive services would, in general, enhance equity, since the major risk factors for disease are more prevalent among the poor, who therefore benefit disproportionately from investments in prevention. (b) Reallocation of resources from curative to preventive services would, in general, enhance efficiency because preventive interventions tend to be more cost-effective (in terms of $ per DALY gained) than curative interventions.

Coverage of some programs, such as hypertension, remains low, and there are no programs to address certain problems of unquestionable importance, such as breast cancer and injuries, the latter being the leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults. The public health system's infrastructure for secondary and tertiary prevention is also limited. Public hospitals, particularly outside of Santiago, lack basic diagnostic and treatment equipment and suffer from shortages of specialized personnel, resulting in common delays in treatment, especially for radiation therapy, chemotherapy and supporting laboratory services.

Some sources cited in this paper may be informal documents that are not readily available. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any consequence of their use. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this volume do not imply on the part of the World Bank Group any judgment on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries. The material in this publication is copyrighted.

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