Judicialization of the right to health: (un)compliance of the judicial decisions in Medellin, Colombia

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The judicialization of health arose following the possibility of judicially demanding the right to health before national and international courts. In the case of Colombia, health litigation is done through a constitutional tool called the tutela action, which allows for the immediate protection of fundamental rights.
A retrospective cross-sectional study using a probabilistic stratified sample of 1031 users of the tutela actions, in Medellín, Colombia, between 2011 and 2014. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed, using statistical tests and multiple logistic regression models.
According to the respondents, 95.9% of the tutela actions succeeded in favour of the applicant. On average, the judicial process took 10.96 days (SD = 8.09). After the favourable decision of the tutela action, access to health care followed in 76.2% of cases, partial access was found for 14.0% (median, 10 d), and in 9.8% of cases, claimants had not received access to the health care they sought.
The tutela action is an essential constitutional mechanism that guarantees the access to health services. However, it must be strengthened from the legal point of view through the implementation of monitoring and control actions and by imposing the sanctioning measures and deadlines established in existing legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1289
JournalInternational Journal Of Health Planning And Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2019


  • Access to health care
  • Court decisions
  • Judicialization of health
  • Tutela action
  • Colombia


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