Brazil’s Plans to Help Those Without Health Insurance

    Brazil’s Ministry of Health plans to expand four programs designed to improve care for the low-income population. The Brazilian Minister of Health, Humberto Costa, made this announcement, October 13, at the opening of the forum of debates, “Health for a More Decent Brazil,” which congregated medical professionals in Recife, in Northeast Brazil.

    One of the programs is the Mobile Emergency Care Service (Samu), which currently benefits 47 million people in 174 municipalities.


    In 2005, the entire Brazilian pópulation will be able to count on this mobile intensive care service, which will be integrated with the Federal Highway Police’s ambulance and helicopter fleet.


    The Community Pharmacy program, which provides greater access to less expensive medicines, has 25 units operating in six cities, and the goal is to attain 100 establishments by the end of the year, in metropolitan areas and major urban clusters.


    Costa affirmed that the government intends to spend US$ 457 million (1.3 billion reais) by 2006 to enlarge the Smiling Brazil program, which guarantees dental assistance to citizens from all age groups. There are at present 67 specialized centers in 40 cities in 15 Brazilian states.


    According to the Minister, the Federal Health System’s ( Brazil’s public health system) Health Care Qualification program (QualiSUS) will receive US$ 225 million (640 million reais) in investments over the next two years.


    The program, which is already functioning in some of the major emergency wards in Brazilian capitals, is meant to improve the care provided to SUS patients.


    Agência Brasil
    Translator: David Silberstein

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