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Ministry of Health (Chile)

Emilio Santelices, the current Minister of Health.
The Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health of Chile (Spanish: Ministerio de Salud de Chile), also known as MINSAL, is the cabinet-level administrative office in charge of planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and informing the public health policies formulated by the President of Chile. Notably, all employees pay 7% of their monthly income to FONASA, the funding branch of the Chilean Ministry of Health.

The current Minister of Health is Emilio Santelices Cuevas. The minister has two adjunts: the Undersecretary of Public Health (Spanish: Subsecretaria de Salud Pública), currently Paula Daza, and the Undersecretary of Assistance Networks (Spanish: Subsecretaria de Redes Asistenciales), currently Gloria Burgos.


a FONASA sign. FONASA is the funding branch of the Ministry of Health.

In 1808, the Committee of Vaccines (Spanish: Junta de Vacunas) was founded, and then in 1832 the Board of Directors of Hospitals (Spanish: Junta Directiva de Hospitales) began operations. Both organizations were precursors of what would become the modern institutions of public health. In 1907, a division charged with the administration of public hygiene was created under the Ministry of the Interior (Spanish: Ministerio del Interior). Then on October 14, 1924, this division was made into the cabinet-level Ministry of Hygiene, Social Assistance and Welfare (Spanish: Ministerio de Higiene, Asistencia y Previsión Social), with the same function (Decree No. 44, 1924). In 1927 all the ministries underwent an important restructuring; with these change it became the Ministry of Social Welfare (Spanish: Ministerio de Bienestar Social), and was charged with, as well as the coordination of public health policies, the investigation of the application of laws relating to society, public welfare, and social security.

In 1932, it was once again renamed, becoming the Ministry of Public Health (Spanish: Ministerio de Salubridad Pública), then the Ministry of Public Health, Social Assistance and Welfare (Spanish: Ministerio de Salubridad Pública, Asistencia y Previsión Social) in 1936, and later the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare (Spanish: Ministerio de Salud Pública y Previsión Social) in 1953.

In 1959, the ministry was divided into the Ministry of Public Health (Spanish: Ministerio de Salud Pública), the modern form of the ministry, and, assuming the functions regulating the welfare of Chileans, the Ministry of Work and Social Welfare (Spanish: Ministerio del Trabajo y Previsión Social).

Finally, from 1973 to 1979, the internal structure of the ministry, now simply the Ministry of Health, was reorganized, creating services such as the National Health Fund (Spanish: Fondo Nacional de Salud), or FONASA.


Currently under the Ministry are the following public institutions:

  • Fondo Nacional de Salud (Spanish: Fondo Nacional de Salud, FONASA)
  • Public Health Institute of Chile (Spanish: Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile, ISP)
  • Center for Supply (Spanish: Central de Abastecimiento, CENABAST)
  • The Health Services in each region of the country are charges with the coordination, management, and development of the assistance networks and execution of the ministry's action.


Ministers of Hygiene, Social Assistance and Welfare

Picture Name Entered Office Exited Office Notes Appointed by
ADelRioS.jpg Alejandro del Río Soto-Aguilar October 17, 1924 January 23, 1925 September Junta
José Santos Salas Morales January 29, 1925 October 10, 1925 Appointed by January Junta
Reappointed by Luis Barros Borgoño
Pedro Lautaro Ferrer Rodríguez October 10, 1925 December 23, 1925
Lucio Córdoba Labarca December 23, 1925 November 20, 1926 Emiliano Figueroa
ManuelRivasVicuna.jpg Manuel Rivas Vicuña November 20, 1926 February 22, 1927 Minister of the Interior
Isaac Hevia Concha February 22, 1927 May 23, 1927
José Santos Salas Morales May 23, 1927 November 17, 1927 Carlos Ibáñez del Campo

Ministers of Social Welfare

Picture Name Entered Office Exited Office Notes Appointed by
Enrique Balmaceda Toro November 17, 1927 April 20, 1928 Interim Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Alejandro Lazo April 20, 1928 June 6, 1928
Luis Schmidt June 6, 1928 June 21, 1928 Interim
Luis Carvajal Laurnaga June 21, 1928 August 5, 1930
Humberto Arce August 5, 1930 September 5, 1930
Ricardo Puelma Laval September 5, 1930 July 13, 1931
JEMonteroR.jpg Juan Esteban Montero Rodríguez July 13, 1931 July 22, 1931 Minister of the Interior and Social Welfare
Héctor Boccardo Benvenuto July 22, 1931 July 22, 1931
Sótero del Río Gundián July 26, 1931 September 3, 1931 Appointed by Pedro Opazo
Reappointed by Juan Esteban Montero
Santiago Wilson Barrientos September 3, 1931 November 15, 1931 Manuel Trucco
Sótero del Río Gundián November 15, 1931 June 4, 1932 Juan Esteban Montero

Ministers of Public Health (First Creation)

Picture Name Entered Office Exited Office Notes Appointed by
Oscar Cifuentes Solar June 5, 1932 June 17, 1932 Appointed by Socialist Junta
Reappointed by Carlos Dávila
Alfonso Quijano Olivares June 17, 1932 October 4, 1932
Javier Castro Oliveira October 4, 1932 December 24, 1932 Abraham Oyanedel
Horacio Hevia Labbé December 24, 1932 May 7, 1933 Minister of the Interior and Public Health Arturo Alessandri
Alfredo Piwonka Jilabert May 7, 1933 April 19, 1934 Minister of the Interior and Public Health
Luis Salas Romo April 19, 1934 August 26, 1935 Minister of the Interior and Public Health
Javier Castro Oliveira August 26, 1935 January 15, 1937

Ministers of Public Health, Social Assistance and Welfare

Picture Name Entered Office Exited Office Notes Appointed by
ECruzCoke.jpg Eduardo Cruz-Coke Lassabe January 15, 1937 September 15, 1938 Arturo Alessandri
Luis Prúnes Rissetti September 15, 1938 December 24, 1938
Miguel Etchebarne Rioll December 24, 1938 December 25, 1939 Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Salvador Allende Gossens December 25, 1939 April 2, 1942
Eduardo Escudero Forrastal April 2, 1942 August 15, 1942 Juan Antonio Rios
Miguel Etchebarne Rioll August 15, 1942 February 4, 1943
Jerónimo Méndez Arancibia February 4, 1943 June 7, 1943
Sótero del Río Gundián June 7, 1943 February 3, 1946
Juan Garafulic Dubracic February 3, 1946 September 6, 1946
René García Valenzuela September 6, 1946 November 3, 1946
Fernando Claro Salas November 3, 1946 April 16, 1947 Gabriel González Videla
Manuel Sanhueza Morales April 16, 1947 August 2, 1947
José Santos Salas Morales August 2, 1947 July 7, 1948
Guillermo Varas Contreras July 7, 1948 February 7, 1950
Manuel Aguirre Geisse February 7, 1950 February 27, 1950
Jorge Mardones Restat February 27, 1950 July 22, 1952
Sótero del Río Gundián July 22, 1952 November 3, 1952
Waldemar Coutts Billiviller November 3, 1952 April 1, 1953 Carlos Ibáñez del Campo

Ministers of Public Health and Social Welfare

Picture Name Entered Office Exited Office Notes Appointed by
Eugenio Suárez Orrego April 1, 1953 March 1, 1954 Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Carlos Vasallo Rojas March 1, 1954 June 5, 1954
Sergio Altamirano Pinto June 5, 1954 January 6, 1955
Jorge Aravena Carrasco January 6, 1955 May 30, 1955
Raúl Barrios Ortiz May 30, 1955 July 4, 1956
Alberto Araya Lampe July 4, 1956 August 27, 1956
Roberto Muñoz Urrutia August 27, 1956 July 18, 1957
Jorge Torreblanca Droguett July 18, 1957 November 3, 1958
Eduardo Gomién Díaz November 3, 1958 October 29, 1959 Jorge Alessandri

Ministers of Public Health (Second Creation)

Picture Name Entered Office Exited Office Notes Appointed by
Sótero del Río Gundián October 29, 1959 August 26, 1961 Jorge Alessandri
Benjamín Cid Quiroz August 26, 1961 September 26, 1963
Francisco Rojas Villegas September 26, 1963 November 3, 1964
Ramón Valdivieso Delaunay November 3, 1964 November 3, 1970 Eduardo Frei Montalva
Oscar Jiménez Pinochet November 3, 1970 August 14, 1971 Salvador Allende
Juan Carlos Concha Gutiérrez August 14, 1971 November 3, 1972
Arturo Jirón Vargas November 3, 1972 August 28, 1973
Mario Lagos Hernández August 28, 1973 September 11, 1973

Additional information

See also


  • República de Chile (1942). "VI. Poder Ejecutivo - Nómina de Gobernantes, Presidentes y Ministros desde la Independencia.". Manual del Senado. 1810-1942 (PDF) (in Spanish). Santiago de Chile: Imprenta Universitaria. (in Spanish)
  • Valencia Avaria, Luis (1986). Anales de la República: textos constitucionales de Chile y registro de los ciudadanos que han integrado los poderes ejecutivo y legislativo desde 1810 (in Spanish) (2ª edición ed.). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Andrés Bello. (in Spanish)

External links