Saúde e Sociedade
Print version ISSN 0104-1290
BASTOS, Francisco Avelar; SANTOS, Everton and TOVO, Maximiano Ferreira. Social Capital and the National Health System (SUS) in Brazil. Saude soc. [online]. 2009, vol.18, n.2, pp. 177-188. ISSN 0104-1290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-12902009000200002.
The main objective of this paper is to construct a preliminary theoretical framework that enables the understanding of the reasons that may determine the satisfactory performance of health institutions in Brazil, particularly that of the National Health System (SUS). Based on the study of Putnam (2005), the theoretical hypothesis is that the accumulation of Social Capital (SC) in a certain society is positively related to the governments' ability to meet the population's demands. In other words, the levels of interpersonal solidarity and trust and the existence of social organizations collaborate with the performance of the political organizations. In the health area, SC would work as an element of positive impact, not only because it offers a healthier life to populations, reducing social exclusion and increasing longevity and self-esteem, but also because it plays a fundamental role in the stimulation to community's participation, both in the formulation of public policies and in their social control, which would enable the better functioning of the institutions. In this sense, we used data from a quantitative research study applied to SUS users in two cities of the state of Rio Grande do Sul (Caxias and Pelotas).
Keywords : Social Capital; National Health System; Social Control.