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Switching ministers delays intensive care unit rollout

. May 22, 2020
intensive care units brazil health ministry Photo: Ag.Pará

Instability in the Health Ministry has severely impacted Brazil’s ability to expand its intensive care units, per a report by weekly magazine Época. According to several interviews conducted with public healthcare workers, the main casualty of the political chaos has been ICU capacity.

The public healthcare system has to make a request to use private intensive care beds — each costing the government BRL 1,600 daily. The money must be passed on to municipal and state administrations — but without federal approval, the capacity to create more ICU space has been severely diminished. Only in the past week, after healthcare systems collapsed in urban centers across the country, were requests made to the ministry during former Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta’s term (he was fired on April 16) approved.

Out of 6,142 beds accredited by the government, only 40 percent were greenlit by May 18.


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Benjamin Fogel

Benjamin Fogel is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History at New York University and a Contributing Editor to Jacobin Magazine.

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