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Insufficient Resources Limit 30-year-old Healthcare System's Expansion

04/26/2018 - 12h23

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CLÁUDIA COLLUCCI
FROM SÃO PAULO

Recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization) as the largest free universal healthcare system in the world, Brazil's Unified Health Service System (SUS) turns 30 years old celebrating many victories but facing innumerous challenges, especially, finding resources to guarantee its sustainability.

This theme was debated at the fifth edition of the Brazilian Health Forum, hosted by Folha on Monday (the 23rd).

Today, one out of seven Brazilians depend exclusively on the public healthcare system. Brazil guarantees its population free access to all vaccines recommended by the WHO.

SUS is also where the world's largest public organ transplant model operates.

More than 90% of all surgeries performed in the country are paid for by resources from SUS.

The system even provides complete assistance, totally free, for individuals with HIV, AIDS, chronic kidney, cancer, tuberculosis and leprosy.

The ESF (Family Health Strategy) program is also a widely-known international reference.

While the country has improved its primary care, there is a persistent bottleneck in access to procedures of medium and high-level complexity, with long waiting lines and lead times.

Part of the problem is due to disorganization in the healthcare network, according to a diagnostic analysis from Marco Akerman, professor of policy, management and healthcare at the Public Health College of the University of São Paulo (USP).

Specialists are unanimous in citing a chronic lack of resources as one of the primary obstacles to greater effectiveness and success for SUS.

And the situation will likely get worse with the implementation of Constitutional Amendment 95, from 2016, which establishes ceilings for spending and freezes investments in healthcare, education and social assistance for the next 20 years.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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