Popular Participation in Venezuela's Barrio Adentro Health Reform

Qamar Mahmood, Carles Muntaner, Rosicar del Valle Mata León, Ramón Ernesto Perdomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The Venezuelan health reform Barrio Adentro (BA), initiated in 2003, aims to improve population health and promote popular participation. Access to healthcare has improved but the distinguishing feature of BA is participation by communities. Popular participation has been institutionalized through the formation of health committees and communal councils. We explored the challenges/barriers faced by these community groups in BA. A mixed-methods participatory methodology was used involving 31 participants selected through non-random purposive sampling from five Venezuelan states. Results indicate that implementation issues challenge participation. There is political will at the highest level but the opposition political parties, Venezuelan Medical Federation, and the private media oppose the reform. Public participation in state affairs is facilitated if there are popular arenas of participation that promote engagement of organized citizenry with the state and an ongoing interaction between state and civil society in order to radically transform the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-833
Number of pages19
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec


  • Venezuela
  • community councils
  • health reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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