Why Brazil’s public healthcare system is not a failure

healthcare brazil

Brazil’s public healthcare system reaches out to the poor

In 2018, the Brazilian public healthcare system, known as SUS (literally, Unified Healthcare System), turns 30. It was born with the 1988 Constitution – and was considered one of the pillars of the new political and social system the country tried to establish after two decades of military dictatorship.

From then on, in principle, healthcare was regarded as a basic right that should be provided by the state to all citizens. Care had to be universal and access to services should be equal.

It took almost a decade for the system to be fully implemented, but in 1996, Brazil finally consolidated a healthcare system that spanned the whole country and was free. The country was the first outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to include universal health coverage in its legislation.

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About the author

Diogo Rodriguez

Rodriguez is a social scientist and journalist based in São Paulo.