- Brazilian government’s view on health matters
- Brazil Public Health Care Service
- Brazil Private Health Care System
- Health Reforms in Brazil
- Challenges Facing the Health Sector
- Health Supplies in Brazil
- Human resources in Brazil
- Benefits of Universal Health Care in Brazil
- Drawbacks of Universal Health Care in Brazil
- Consequences of the Universal Health Care in Brazil
- Reference List
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Brazil is one of the biggest countries in South America. It had to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was started by the United Nations in 1948. The United Nations declaration entitled every human being to living in conditions that enabled them to acquire good health.
There were three conditions necessary for one to have good health namely: food, shelter, clothing and access to medical care. Brazil has tried to live up to the standards during the United Nations declaration and is termed as the second best in terms of the number of hospitals, after the United States of America, which has the highest number of hospitals globally. These health facilities are considered the best in Latin America.
The pursuit of equity in health care and universal entitlement to access of services such as health care reform concerns, were addressed at a Brazilian national health conference in 1986.
A new constitution addressing this issue was drafted in 1988. Subsequent legislative and administrative actions also addressed the issue of health care in Brazil. However, in the early 1990s, economic policies affected the federal government’s ability to fund the necessary services.
In 1994, the Ministry of Health introduced a formal quality improvement. The main purpose was to disseminate a culture of quality improvement among health care providers, payers, and users of health services. The minister of health then established a national commission on quality improvement.
This commission played an important role in making quality improvement activities an important activity which is a national accreditation. This move led to improvement in the quality of the health services offered by the government of Brazil.
Brazilian government’s view on health matters
According to Harmeling (1999), the Brazilian government viewed childhood mortality as one of the most serious health problems affecting the country. The health of children is a concern for countries in the developing world. Policies have been put in place in order to help improve the health care of children.
Some measures have been taken to improve on the health of children in these countries. The measures have been relatively effective when evaluated over the past thirty years but there is still a lot that needs to be done.
Motherhood mortality was identified as another health problem that needed to be addressed urgently. It was estimated that the rate of motherhood mortality there was about 73.1 % death per 100,000 born children in 2002.
This was a high percentage of women dying in this manner whereas it was possible to prevent such deaths. This is the reason why the government of Brazil was concerned and decided to address the issue without further delay.
Mortality by non-transmissible illness was also a problem. The government identified cancer and heart diseases as the major cause of deaths. Cancer affected more people than the heart diseases.
Mortality caused by external causes like transportation violence and suicide was a serious problem. The death toll was also high because o such factors especially in the southeast region.
Brazil Public Health Care Service
Family health program was considered one of the key areas that was targeted for improvement. This program was introduced by municipal health secretariats in collaboration with the state and the Ministry of Public Health.
Brazil offers free medical services to all Brazilians. This service can be obtained from the public national heath system. Private providers are assisted by the government to provide quality health care which is not so expensive. The service is also provided from the private sector via private insurance or employers. The patients do not pay for any of the services they get. These expenses are paid by government from general taxation.
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Brazil has also deployed doctors in the areas of residence. This means that wherever someone is, they can access health services easily. Brazilian national health care provides services for those who cannot afford to pay in private health centers.
Brazil can therefore be classified as one of the best places to find quality health care and at a cheaper rate. Hence, in Brazil, health care is free by law. Everyone has a right to treatment, from organ transplant to sex-exchange operations and any other kind of health condition requiring specialized treatment.
Brazil Private Health Care System
The private sector is way ahead of the government sectors in terms of the quality of services provided. Alvarez (1998) states that, the private health sector of Brazil have done well so far in the provision of health care to its citizens.
However, its success rate stands at only 25% because the remaining 75% should be enacted by other stakeholders, the main being the government. The stakeholders responsible for the remaining 75% have failed on their part. This is because in private systems there are shorter waits and better care. Public health care can be accessed by every citizen who needs it.
Health Reforms in Brazil
Brazil has made significant improvement in health department, especially in maternal and child health. The emergency care unit has also improved. The burden of infectious disease has reduced drastically. Brazil can celebrate a reduction in mortality from chronic disease.
The use of technology in health department has led to positive reforms in that sector. Technology has ensured security and privacy of the stored health information. To ensure this, the health professionals were provided with health cards.
This card was required to be swiped at the electronic terminal before implementing any change to the system. The registration of the health professional was supposed to be completed at the server level. Unique password was provided for each professional who was registered.
The government seeks to pass a legislation which will help it share some of the responsibilities it shoulders with other stakeholders such as the municipal council.
Challenges Facing the Health Sector
World Health Organization (2000) states that there are some failures in the health sector which need to be addressed. One of the failures is Dengue fever which is a new public health problem.
Over three million incidents of the disease were reported in the last decade, with 12,000 leading to the more serious Dengue hemorrhagic fever. 900 deaths have also been reported. Rates of the most serious reforms of Dengue are six times what they were in the 1990s. No vaccine has been discovered so far.
Visceral leshmaniasis control is also poor. The current effort being done now is focusing on control of the vectors and removing domestic animals that can act as reservoirs. The only available treatment is toxic and while accessible and suitable in urban areas with medical support. The toxicity makes treatment in remote rural areas inappropriate (WHO, 2000).
Another challenge facing the health sector is constitution injunction. Around 60% of all spending health care in Brazil is private. This share is higher than in most other Latin American countries. It is higher than even other places in the United States.
Private provision has a cover meant for the minority (young) and those regarded as being rich. This is invoking fear among the Brazilians people. Pollster notes the effect of health care on the economy where improvement has been noted on health care displacing the economy since 2007.
The public health system gets poor value for the money it spends on the drugs. Too much money goes on complying with rights granted to patients who use the constitution lofty promises to demand expensive treatment, not automatically covered by the system. Too much of the budget goes to the hospital rather than the family program (Latin America and Caribbean Health Sector Reform Initiative, 2000).
Health Supplies in Brazil
Brazil is ranked among the largest drug user market. Statistics has it that the consumption of drugs in Brazil is nearly 3.5% of the world market. Several methods have been used to promote the use of generic products so that people can get the drugs they need easily. This is because the generic products are cheaper than other products.
Human resources in Brazil
In 1999, the Brazilian government had increased the number of physicians, nurses, dentists, dieticians and veterinarians rapidly. It was estimated that 14 physicians served ten thousand people. People doing technical also occupy a portion of the health sector.
Benefits of Universal Health Care in Brazil
The poor Brazilians who cannot afford the medical are the ones who benefit most from the universal health care in Brazil.
The physicians also benefit from the universal health, in that they are given incentives. They are also paid three times more to work in the poorest parts of Brazil.
Drawbacks of Universal Health Care in Brazil
Most hospitals in Brazil are considered substandard as it is assumed that there are limited facilities due to the large number of patients visiting them. This mostly affects the public system hospitals.
There are also long waits for procedures because of the many patients visiting the hospital. This leads to the building up of long queues in public health care centers.
The ratio of doctors’ to patient in urban areas per 1000 is 3.28. This shows that in urban areas, medical attention is limited. Medics who work in remote areas are paid more money than their counterparts in the urban areas. This could be a reason why many prefer to work in the rural areas.
Consequences of the Universal Health Care in Brazil
Universal health care in Brazil has led to a decrease in infant mortality as every child has access to medical attention whenever the need for such services arises.
Life expectancy has gone up due to the introduction of universal health care as everyone has a right to treatment. According to National School of Public Health (1998), there was an improvement in life expectancy rate among Brazilians.
Brazil’s health care is provided by both private and government institutions. Medical care is available to anyone who is a citizen of Brazil or is in Brazil legally. This includes foreigners who have the permit to be in Brazil. The laws of the land grant every citizen a right to health care in Brazil.
In summary, Brazil can be termed as a country that has tried in ensuring that there is provision of quality health care for its citizens.
Alvarez, I. (1998). 21st Century Challenges Facing the Brazilian Health Sector. San Diego: University of California.
Harmeling, S. (1999). Health Reform in Brazil: Reproductive Health and Health Sector Reform. Washington, DC: World Bank Institute.
Latin America and Caribbean Health Sector Reform Initiative. (2000). Baseline for Monitoring and Evaluation of Health Sector. Reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean, 10.
National School of Public Health. (1998). Health Care Around the World: Brazil. Rio de Janeiro: Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.
World Health Organization. (2000). How is the public interest protected? Governments as stewards of health resources. The World Health Report, 14.