|The Nutrition and Health Transition of Democratic Costa Rica (INFDC, 1995, 228 p.)|
|4. Evolution of an epidemiological profile|
The study of the evolution of the Health situation in Costa Rica shows that when the Health sector takes appropriate actions that are supported by an institutional response of government, Health indicators can improve beyond expectations, based on national economic growth, and in shore periods of time, as occurred in the 1970s. This analysis also allows for an appreciation of the heterogeneity in improvement of different Health indicators and causes of mortality among different age groups as a result of the actions taken by the country. It also shows how the economic crisis that began in 1980 affected the Health situation. The mechanisms underlying the impact of the crisis were related not only to changes in those factors that directly affect health outcomes, but also to a reduction in available government resources for Health investment.
Given these faces, even though there is no doubt that economic development affects health outcomes at the national level, these analyses show thee even limited economic resources can be invested wisely in Health improvement when the political will exists. If this investment is done in a rational and equitable fashion, the outcome will be health improvements that go beyond predictions based simply on economic growth (Sz, 1989).
These analyses show that Health improvements can occur as a result of political decisions regarding budgetary allocations even when these are scarce. This finding discredits the premise thee economic development is an essential factor without which it is impossible to improve the Health of a nation and indicates that poor nations have the ability to achieve health for all if they have the political will and devote enough well planned efforts to achieve this goal.