To review health research conducted among indigenous populations in Latin America during the period 1995-2004. Material and methods. The search strategy was purposely broad to ensure the identification of all relevant studies indexed in the PubMed and Lilacs databases.
Six-hundred ninety citations were included. One hundred fifty-nine (23.0%) papers dealt with indigenous populations in Central America and 509 (73.8%) papers with South American populations. Three hundred two (43.8%) of the studies were quantitative, 39 (5.7%) qualitative, 259 (37.5%) mainly based on laboratory work and 24 (3.5%) dealt with policy analyses. The most common researched theme was human biology with 200 (29.0 %) papers, followed by communicable diseases (150 papers, 21.7 %).
There is a special need for policy studies in the field of indigenous health. An increased commitment to resources and capacity building will be the real challenge for indigenous health research in the nearest future.