During the 2018 campaign, President Jair Bolsonaro promised to reduce the size of the Brazilian state by slashing the number of government workers by 30 percent. A survey by news website Poder360 shows that he is far from hitting the goal, having cut just 7 percent of federal government jobs. However, what is puzzling is that no department has shrunk more than the Health Ministry — which lost 18 percent of its workers, despite having to face an epoch-defining pandemic.
Staff of agencies directly linked to the fight against coronavirus, such as the vaccine-producing Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and Anvisa, the federal health regulator, shrank by 6 and 11 percent. The ministry had more than 14,000 retirements in the period, which would explain the drop, but did not talk about replacements.