Rural health care in Bolivia

H. B. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Eighty percent of Bolivians live in rural areas. However, because of a lack of resources and an urban/curative health sector orientation, rural primary health care services are woefully inadequate. Consequently, Bolivia has the worst health conditions of any of the Latin American countries. The broader factors which underlie Bolivia's poor health conditions, such as the low standard of living and impediments to socioeconomic development, are reviewed. Rural primary health programs are hampered by a lack of local support, overdependence on central and distant Ministry of Health supervisory staff, a lack of strong national political support for rural primary health care programs, the absence of public sector support for social programs, and a lack of appropriately trained health providers who are comfortable in the rural sociocultural milieu of community-oriented primary health care. The experience of Andean Rural Health Care is briefly described, and the potential contribution of private organizations working with local communities and with the Ministry of Health is addressed. The most viable option for improving rural primary health care in Bolivia is the census-based community-oriented approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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