Factors that influence human resources for health policy formulation: A multiple case study in Brazil and Portugal

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This study aims to analyze whether the process by which policies for human resources for health that aim to improve the geographic distribution of physicians have been informed by scientific evidence in Brazil and Portugal. This was a multiple case study on a decision-making process for human resources for health in Brazil and Portugal. The respective case studies were based on Brazil's More Doctors Program (Programa Mais Médicos - PMM) and Portugal's strategy of hiring foreign physicians through bilateral agreements, to work in the country's National Health Service (SNS). We interviewed 27 key actors in the policy- making process on the following topics: Factors that influenced the policy decisions, actors that were expected to win or lose from the policy, and the scientific evidence and available data used in the policy-making, among others. The most evident factors appearing in the interviews as having influenced the PMM were: Institutions; external factors (Presidential elections); group interests (e.g. physicians' professional associations), governments (Brazil and Cuba), international organizations, and civil society; and ideas (scientific evidence). The most frequently cited factors in Portugal were: Institutions and interests of government (from Portugal and the countries involved in the bilateral agreements), civil society, and groups (physicians' professional associations). Contrary to the case study in Brazil, where the evidence was reported to having played an important role in the policy decisions, in Portugal, scientific evidence was not identified as contributing to the specific policy process.




De Oliveira, A. P. C., Poz, M. R. D., Craveiro, I., Gabriel, M., & Dussault, G. (2018). Factors that influence human resources for health policy formulation: A multiple case study in Brazil and Portugal. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 34(2). https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311X00220416

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