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In Rio de Janeiro, Violence Disrupts Service at Medical Centers Twice a Day

11/28/2017 - 11h21

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LUIZA FRANCO
FROM RIO DE JANEIRO

With Rio de Janeiro's security apparatus in disarray and overall violence on the rise - particularly in the slums - medical centers have been getting caught in the midst of crossfires. The clinics have been subjected to warlike situations, leading professionals to abandon their posts and leaving those who have been historically unassisted even more vulnerable.

On more violent days, the clinics in the Rocinha slum, where around 70 thousand reside, won't even open. The same goes for clinics in similar communities in the city.

Statistics provided by the Family Clinics, which offer basic care services, can be used to measure the disruptions caused by violence. In order to be located closer to patients, the clinics are typically situated in the center of the slums. In 2017, at least one Family Clinic has had to close its doors twice a day due to violence. Disruptions in medical service went up by 65% when compared to 2016.

Rio de Janeiro has cut spending on hospital care, making matters worse for the municipal clinics. The administration has delayed a R$ 500 million payment (US$ 155 million) to fund the clinics, which are managed by Social Organizations (OS), private entities that oversee the medical centers.

The clinics have reported delays in funding, dismissals and a lack of medical supplies. The Doctors Union estimates that 180 professionals have been laid off this year.

According to Rio de Janeiro's Secretary of Health, some of the Social Organizations have already been paid, while, according to initial estimates, outstanding payments to the remaining organizations were scheduled to be made over the course of November. An additional R$ 25 million (US$ 7.7 million) has also been granted in order to purchase medical supplies.

Ricardo Borges/Folhapress
Statistics provided by the Family Clinics, which offer basic care services, can be used to measure the disruptions caused by violence
Statistics provided by the Family Clinics, which offer basic care services, can be used to measure the disruptions caused by violence

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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