As a response to the poor health conditions that indigenous people experience worldwide, indigenous groups in many countries have demanded increased autonomy and control over health care in hopes of developing more accessible and responsive health services. The purpose of this work is to explore factors required for self-determining indigenous health systems, and consider whether these would work in Guatemala. To accomplish this, a review of the literature was conducted and two examples of indigenous self-determination in health from Chile (Makewe Hospital) and Canada (NAN’s Crisis Teams) were selected. The formation and implementation process of these initiatives was analysed to identify factors that enable indigenous self-determination in health. Factors that would be feasible to replicate in Guatemala include strong community involvement in organizing health care, revalorization and revitalization of indigenous knowledge and culture, leadership capacity, flexibility, and integration of Western and traditional medical systems.
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