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“What we want is that people tell us what health means for Chile. Today there is a commodification of this sector that impacts mostly on the neediest people in this country," said Marina Guevara, the national president of FENPRUSS, a PSI affiliated union in Chile.
According to Marina Guevara, public health in Chile has been in a serious situation for several years due to the lack of state resources allocated to this sector. The idea of the plebiscite is to hear people’s opinions and experiences of public health, and every inhabitant older than 14 years can vote.
A panel organised by the Social Board of Health is made up with various unions affiliated to PSI in Chile, including FENPRUSS, CONFUSAM and FENFUSSAP. Other organisations, such as Citizen Vote, Health is a Right, user groups and students, also take part in the panel. The consultation will take place in two stages, Carolina Espinoza, president of the CONFUSAM explained:
"The first stage will be through the website www.votociudadano.cl from Monday 23 April until Sunday 6 May 2012. The second stage will be face to face, with polling stations in hospitals, clinics, universities, schools and public places throughout the country."
User groups, students and other organisations will join the plebiscite during the second stage. Among those that will take part, is the Confederation of Copper, and its president, Cristian Cuevas called this "a great initiative to make health a right, with a government guarantee."
The results and conclusions of the consultation will be made public and will be handed over to the Government and other powers of the State, as well as civic organisations and citizens in general.
The National Health Plebiscite is the fourth public consultation developed by Citizen Vote, a platform that works with IAS Research Labs, University of Chile, to ensure transparency and reliability.