Brazil’s 2022 health budget could be smallest in a decade

Brazil's Health Ministry set to have smallest budget in a decade. Photo: Shutterstock
Brazil’s Health Ministry set to have smallest budget in a decade. Photo: Shutterstock

Despite Brazil’s recent strides in beating the pandemic — with a 60-percent rate of fully-vaccinated people — there is potential trouble ahead for the country’s health system: if the 2022 budget passes as is, money earmarked for health policies will be the smallest since 2012, receiving a paltry 3.19 percent of the total, according to a recent study from the Institute of Health Policy Studies (Ieps).

Per Ieps, 2022 figures would maintain a downward trend in health investment beginning in 2013. The organization highlights, for instance, that funding for primary care — which focuses on prevention and diagnosis by the public health system — is stagnant at about BRL 25 billion (USD 4.52 billion) per year since 2019.

Excluding funds earmarked for Covid-related actions (BRL 7.4 billion), the estimated budget for the health sector is a total of BRL 140 billion, “substantially lower than the budget proposal of every year between 2012 and 2021,” said the institute.

Funding for Covid-related measures will be 1 percent higher than last year, but 5 percent lower than in 2019.

Furthermore, funding for coronavirus vaccine purchases will drop from BRL 6.9 billion in 2021 to BRL 3.9 billion next year, which is worrying considering that the government plans to give booster doses to the entire adult population.

The 2022 budget bill is still pending in Congress and, by law, it needs to be approved by December 22. Until then, funding allocations are subject to change.