“Most doctors do not care about the people from the outskirts and rural areas”

In July, the municipalities of the countryside of Brazil will receive doctors coming from communities affected by dams graduated in Cuba, through the Program “Mais Médicos” (More Doctors). “I could […]

In July, the municipalities of the countryside of Brazil will receive doctors coming from communities affected by dams graduated in Cuba, through the Program “Mais Médicos” (More Doctors).

Photo of Everton - new doctor from affected community

“I could not wait to get to work. It is difficult to study seven years away from home, go back to your country and have to wait to be able to help the people” said Everton Walczak, from Paraná. After nine months of waiting they received on May the disclosure notice of the federal government for the Program “Mais Médicos”, which selected 387 Brazilian doctors who studied abroad. In this list three doctors has an element of their life stories in common: they are affected by dams. Everton, Michele Christmann, Cristian Tenutti graduated medicine in the 10th class of the “White Coats Army” in July 2014, after seven years of studies at the University of Medical Sciences of Havana, Cuba.

Selective Health

Currently, Brazil has about 400,000 doctors. Most are concentrated in the south and southeast region, serving preferably private clinics. According to the Ministry of Health, the country has a deficit of 160 000 doctors. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Brazilian average of physicians per thousand inhabitants is 1.8. Cuba has 6.7 and is the country with more doctors per capita in the world.

The program “Mais Médicos” came to equate the lack of professionals, which mainly affects the most distant regions from the big urban centers. “The program takes physicians to where nobody wants to work which conditions are poorer and difficult to access, where the people really need,” said Everton.

One of this region is located in Roraima, where Everton will work the next two years. From the 6th of July, the Special Sanitary Indigenous District – East will receive him and three doctors more from the same program.

Everton is born in Honorio Serpa, in southwestern Paraná, a community threatened by the small hydro power plant Cachoeirinha, for him it will not be a problem to go to Roraima. He reminds that: “Since young I have been activist in the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), and one of our basic premises is to be close to the people.”

The recent graduated doctor highlights that most doctors graduated in Brazil do not want to go to the countryside or to indigenous reserves, they prefer to stay in the large capital cities. “Most doctors don’t care about the people that live in the outskirts of the cities or the people that live far in the countryside, and even less about the indigenous people. This Program came to bring quality health to these places where no one wants to go”,

According to survey carried out by Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), for every hundred person graduated in Medicine in Brazil, only five wish to work in small towns and only a fifth of newly qualified aims to work in general practice, as in family health programs. 

White coat’s elite

Most doctors graduated in Brazil comes from a elite distant from the Brazilian reality. This is pointed out by the survey held by Cremesp (Regional Medical Council of São Paulo State).
If you are female, young, white, live with your parents, have never worked, studied in private schools and studied at least two years at prep school to get into college, have parents with higher education who earn more than ten minimum wages, you compose the profile of the select group of young doctors of the State of São Paulo; according to Cremesp’s data extracted from compulsory examination for those wishing to work in the state of São Paulo.

Mais Médicos

By 2014, 14,462 doctors were sent to 3,785 municipalities, benefiting 50 million people. The federal government guarantee in 2015 the stay of 18,247 doctors in primary health care units throughout the country, taking care of approximately 63 million people. This will benefit 4,058 municipalities, 72.8% of all the cities of Brazil, in addition to 34 indigenous districts.

The Program “Mais Médicos” also provides investment in infrastructure and training. 5.6 billion reais is destinated to finance constructions, extensions and 26,000 to reform basic health units and 1.9 billion reais for buildings and extensions of 943 Emergency Care Units.

Regarding the expansion and restructuring of medical studies, it is expected to create by 2017, 11,500 new vacancies in medicine and 12 400 residency positions for training specialists by 2018, with a focus on priority areas within the public health system (SUS).



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