The South American Institute of Government in Health (ISAGS) is an intergovernmental public organism associated to the Health Council of the Union of South American Nations – the regional bloc formed by the 12 countries of South America. Its functions include, among other, building leadership, knowledge management and support to Health Systems.

Created by the UNASUR Council of Heads of State and the Government, as proposed by the South American Health Council at a meeting in Cuenca, Ecuador, in April 2010, ISAGS is the result of a political consensus reached by the countries of the region after recognizing health as a bridge for peace and development.

The idea of creating the Institute initially came up in September 2009, during the first meeting organized by the Technical Group on Human Resources for Health. The suggestion was put forward to the Health Council and was widely accepted. The headquarters of the Institute are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


ISAGS is programmatically associated to the South American Health Council and, therefore, is actions are based upon the same guidelines of the Council’s Five-Year Plan 2010-2015, which comprehends the priorities defined by the Ministries of Health of the member countries and by the Technical Groups and Structuring Networks that constitute it.

Based on ISAGS´ Strategic Guidelines, approved by the UNASUR Ministers of Health in 2015, the Institute elaborates, with the support of its Consultative Council and the bloc´s Ministries of health, its Annual Operating Plan (AOP), which details activities of its areas of expertise:

Executive Management

Access to Medicines and Health Technologies

Social Determination of Health

Health Systems and Services

Health Surveillance

Unit of International Relations and Cooperation

Unit of Information and Technology Management

Annually, the AOP is approved by ISAGS Directing Council.


ISAGS abides by the rules of its Bylaw, which has been approved in all UNASUR decision-making bodies. According to the document, in order to accomplish its goals, the organism must perform five main functions:


Identify the needs, develop programs and support the processes of training and capacity building of strategic human resources and leadership in health for the member countries, in articulation with congener national and international institutions.


Organize existing knowledge and carry out researches on health policies and health governance, human resources and possibly other pertinent themes appointed by the South American Health Council, in coordination with congener national and international institutions.


Systematize, organize and disseminate technical-scientific information on regional and global health, with the intention of supporting the decision-making process of the conduction centers, of strengthening society processes and of giving information about the processes of government and governance in health.


Support the formulation of UNASUR’s common external policies to back up the negotiation of health-related issues in global and regional international agendas.


Provide technical support to national health institutions with the use of new methodological and evaluation approaches, in order to promote knowledge appliance and transfer, distance learning and the development of models for the evaluation of cooperation’s results, causes and effects.

Organizational Structure

ISAGS is composed by the Directive Council, the Consultative Council and the Executive Direction.

The Directive Council is one of ISAGS permanent bodies and guides the Institute´s activities in accordance with the priorities of the South American Health Council. It is formed by the Ministers of Health of the UNASUR member countries.

The Consultative Council is formed by the coordinators of the Technical Groups and Structuring Networks, as well as by specialists in critical health-related fields of knowledge. The organ is responsible for the formulation of recommendations regarding the planning, management, execution and the evaluation of the programs developed by ISAGS.

The Executive Direction is responsible for ISAGS management in accordance with its objectives, functions, policies, plans, programs and projects determined and approved by the Directing Council.