Health Care in Rural Brazil

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Posted on 2/14/2013
Image of Brazilian child being weighed at a doctor's office
A Brazilian child is weighed at a doctor's office.

Brazil has a national health-care service, but children in rural communities often lack access to basic medical care because doctors in these regions are few and far between. The introduction of the Unified Health System (SUS) in 1989 solved many problems and improved the quality of care for many Brazilians, especially in urban areas. The SUS operates in a similar fashion to the health-care systems of Canada and the United Kingdom; medical treatment is considered a constitutional right for Brazilian citizens. Unfortunately, there is still a severe lack of doctors in rural areas, which translates into long waits in crowded emergency rooms.

A Desperate Need

Despite the fact that the SUS is a state program, much of Brazil's health-care investment comes from private entities. However, many people choose to pay for private health insurance, as the quality of care is often better than that of state-run hospitals. This is a luxury that those living in rural areas often cannot afford. Because medical facilities in remote regions are not as profitable for investors, there's less coverage for rural residents like those served by ChildFund.

Approximately 26 percent of Brazil's population lives in poverty. For people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture, private and even state medical care is often out of reach, leaving many children without access to basic health care and treatment.

Knowledge is Power

ChildFund has been working in Brazil for 47 years to improve children's lives and offer them the hope of a brighter future. We offer educational workshops designed to promote wellness and a greater knowledge of reproductive health and disease prevention to families in need.

Although these projects have made a difference in the lives of thousands of people, there is still more to be done. Please consider making a donation to our Children's Greatest Needs program or sponsoring a child.