By Philip Sever, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A slogan used by mayoral candidate Alcides Rolim, “chama o doutor”, has been found being used in several locations across Rio. It is thought that the slogan has been adopted to highlight the poor quality health service that most Cariocas use.
The Brazilian health care system is comprised of a government run, Sistema Unico de Saude (SUS) which the majority of the public uses. However government run hospitals are characterized by large lines and long waiting times which is why local residents are protesting.
The government states that health policies should reduce inequalities between population groups and individuals, and that health care should be directed towards those who need it most first. SUS also states that all health care policies are to be planned and supervised directly by the population, through local, city, state and national health councils.
However it is widely agreed that the SUS is underfunded and of a poor quality. There are cases of people pretending to faint or cutting their hands with a knife to get treatment quicker.
Up to 37 million Brazilians use private health insurance, ensuring a better service and less waiting time. However the majority of Brazilians cannot afford this, and do not work in a job which offers health insurance benefits.
81% of Brazil’s population uses SUS, which was founded in 1988 with the government statement that health care is a “right of all and an obligation of the State”. Before the foundation of the SUS only Brazilians who paid social security were able to access health care.