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Brazil Healthcare Reform

With intense riots rife through the streets of Brazil in the lead up to the Confederations Cup Final, the media and the world’s attention was on the soon to be World Cup hosts. The protests began back in June 2013 and were initially organised to protest the increases in the cost of using public transport in some Brazilian cities. As the protests grew, they came to incorporate subjects such as police force used against the protestors as well as multiple issues regarding infrastructure, education and the healthcare system. In total the demonstrations saw over 2million Brazilians take to the streets in Brazil’s largest cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. However, it seems that their voices have been heard by President Dilma Rousseff, who met their demands and has implemented certain healthcare reform for a better future for Brazil.

Brazil Introduces Healthcare Reforms


The demonstrators demanded that petroleum royalties are funnelled down to education and healthcare and that there is a national pact to improve education, health and public transport. Both of these demands with regards to healthcare were met and it seems that President Rousseff is taking her promises of change seriously. The Brazilian government agreed that 75% of the petroleum royalties would be designated to education and 25% to the healthcare system. With one of the largest petroleum reserves in the world and having only been discovered fairly recently, the royalties earned by both sectors will be significant. The start of a new month, and the protestors have been less intense in their efforts in July 2013. This was surely aided by Rousseff’s announcement to hire 10,000 doctors to work in poorly served areas as part of wider reforms.
Brazilian healthcare reforms will begin in September with the hiring of foreign doctors mainly from Spain and Portugal in order to try and solve the crisis that is currently present in the health system of Brazil. The ‘More Doctors’ programme as it has been termed, will only consider foreign doctors if the positions cannot be filled by Brazilian doctors. President Rousseff stated that the More Doctors programme does not have a primary goal of bringing doctors from abroad, but instead, making more health servicesavailable to the inner country. The scheme has been set the target to not only tackle the long term problems of the healthcare system in Brazil but also the current, here and now, problems facing the country and the population who do not have access to doctors. The implementation of such a scheme will be expensive and yet Rousseff has pledged to invest more that USD$3million in upgrading existing as well as building new surgeries in Brazil.

A Change In The Education System

The reforms will also be stretching to change the university medical curriculum meaning that students graduating from 2015 will have to spend 2 years in the public sector. Medicine has always been a highly contested degree across the world however, and to the delight of prospective medical students, 11,500 extra places on medical courses will be offered in the next 4 years. This is the governmental attempt to ensure the sustainability of the Brazilian healthcare system as well as increase the possible access to doctors across Brazil. The medical curriculum has further been reformed as the usual degree length for a medical student was 6 years before they were being allowed to practise medicine. However with an added two years’ work within the public sector before graduation, the length of the degree has been increased of the eight years.

These changes to the healthcare system are some of the biggest that have happened in modern Brazilian history. Brazil is one of the largest country’s in the world, has one of the largest populations in the world and its economy is growing year on year, making Brazil into one of the most important players in todays and the future market. Although the dreadful protests were seen from all over the world, positive outcomes have been produced. Not only has the government shown to listen to its people and implement the ideology of a democracy but the healthcare system has also benefitted as a result of the protests. With Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympic Games, the continual rise and development of Brazil has cemented its place as an important part in the expansion of Latin America’s influence on the world.