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By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The healthcare system in Rio is officially in a state of emergency. The measure was signed late yesterday (December 23rd) by the state governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão, after meeting with secretary of healthcare Alberto Beltrame of the federal Minister of Health. Beltrame pledged to release a large supply of support for the state’s hospitals, starting today (Thursday, December 24th).

Governador Luiz Fernando Pezão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and federal secretary of healthcare Alberto Beltrame, announced the state of emergency, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

The state of emergency is meant to cut through bureaucracy and streamline the transfer of federal funds to Rio de Janeiro. Governor Pezão said, “We are channeling every effort to keep the units running. We have created a crisis cabinet and decreed emergency in Rio de Janeiro.”

Adding, “This partnership with the federal government and the City Hall is essential. The state has no money machine. We depend on these transfers, especially given the severity of the financial crisis in the country, which has serious consequences for our state.”

Pezão stated that Rio will receive R$297 million, including funds from the federal government and a R$100 million offered by the Rio city government loan. He estimated that, within a week, the service in the state hospital system should be functional.

Alberto Beltrame explained that among the donated supplies are more than two hundred items, including intensive materials in hospitals, such as tape, glove, gauze, prostheses, catheters and drugs. In addition, some 1,500 beds were available in government hospitals to receive patients that would normally be met in the state system.

“Throughout this year, we talked with Governor Pezão. This dialogue has never been interrupted. We are announcing measures here in terms of a crisis that has intensified in recent days and we’re giving a firm response from the federal government because the fundamental concern of President Dilma [Rousseff] is with the people,” said the secretary.

Relating to an injunction issued on Wednesday by the Court, which requires the government of Rio to invest twelve percent of healthcare revenues as provided by the constitution, under fine of R$50,000 to the state and private fine R$10,000 to the governor himself, Pezão said he will appeal the measure.

He claimed they are doing everything to invest in the sector, but there are no resources because the state economy, largely dependent on oil exploration, was hit hard by the reduction in oil prices. “I will always find a way. The state does not manufacture resources, has no bank, [it] lives in tax revenues. Today, the priority is to pay for healthcare. I do not need injunction to contribute money in health. “

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