By Brennan Stark, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nearly 100,000 doctors and health professionals of the Unified Health System (SUS) in 21 states across Brazil will protest today against low pay and poor working conditions. Surgeries, examinations and consultations will be largely suspended, with only the emergency room remaining open.
The movement has been organized by the Brazilian Medical Association (AMA), the National Federation of Doctors (FENAM), and the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM), which collectively make up at least half of SUS’ 195,000 working medics.
The plan to strike was confirmed on Monday in the states of São Paulo, Amazonas, Bahia and Piauí, among seventeen others.
The protests will vary in magnitude across states, with São Paulo only shutting down a few hospital units for Tuesday, while Piauí braces for three straight days of large-scale striking.
Rio de Janeiro will see demonstrations, but will not expect any major disruptions in hospital functioning.
Vice-president of CFM Aloísio Tibiriçá Miranda claimed the strike would not harm Brazilians, as “All appointments will be rescheduled and emergency care kept.”
He added, “This movement is in favor of the SUS, whose assistance is now well behind what we doctors want, and what the public expects.”
Movement organizers also cited the lack of hospital beds, which decreased by nearly 200,000 from 1990 to 2008, and complained of the lack of career planning for medical professionals.
Today, nearly eighty percent of all Brazilians depend exclusively on SUS for access to healthcare services.
Read more here (in Portuguese).
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