Sworn in, new Health Minister calls for “people-focused” approach

minister nelson teich
President Jair Bolsonaro e newly-appointed Health Minister Nelson Teich. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr

Oncologist Nelson Teich was sworn in as Brazil’s new Health Minister today. The 62-year-old doctor and business owner advocated for further cooperation between federal and local governments, which has been limited due to friction between Jair Bolsonaro and state governors. He also defended social isolation measures, echoing many of the arguments used by his predecessor Luiz Henrique Mandetta.

Mr. Bolsonaro sacked Mr. Mandetta for being “solely focused on the health aspect of the crisis,” said the president, claiming he must have a wider approach, considering the economic repercussions of halting the in-person economy. The president said he will never jeopardize people’s right to come and go and that he will do whatever it takes to defend it.

In his speech, the newly-appointed Mr. Teich also said his team will work with other ministries to “gather health information that is fundamental” to finding solutions. Mr. Teich said he will take social and economic indicators into account to implement a “people-focused approach,” as “though you can talk about the economy, in the end, it is always about people.”

After Mr. Teich’s speech, the president also delivered a statement. Mr. Bolsonaro advocated for the reopening of business and the Uruguay and Paraguay border regions. The new Health Minister did not address these topics.