Health in Brazil - Statistics & Facts

Brazil is the most populous country and the largest healthcare market in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an emerging economy, spending in health in Brazil still lags behind developed countries, but regionally speaking, it is one of the highest in relation to its gross domestic product. In 2016, spending in health accounted for 11.8 percent of the country’s GDP, the second largest share in Latin America, following Cuba. With an estimated population of around 210 million inhabitants, per capita health expenditure in Brazil averaged 1,402 U.S. dollars per person per year in 2017.

Besides health expenditure, Brazil is the nation with the highest number of hospitals in Latin America, and has one of the largest healthcare workforces in the region. In 2017, there were almost 415 thousand physicians in Brazil. The number of surgeons and other specialist surgical professionals averaged at 35 per one hundred thousand inhabitants as of 2016. Brazil particularly stood out among the countries with the highest number of plastic surgeons around the globe, ranking in second place with an estimated 5,500 plastic surgeons in 2017, only after the United States, where there were 6,800.

Yet, according to a recent survey, Brazilian health consumers were the most critical about the quality of healthcare provided in their country, in comparison to the other five largest health markets surveyed in Latin America. In that survey, up to 57 percent of respondents in Brazil stated the healthcare quality they received was poor, whereas only 15 percent of respondents in Argentina said the same. Another survey revealed that over two thirds of Brazilians thought the health system frequently let the patients down.

Being a country with a mostly tropical and subtropical climate, mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika continue to affect Brazilians. Almost 250 thousand probable Dengue virus infections were registered in the country in 2017, with the most affected regions being the Northeast and the Central-West. Regarding the Chikungunya virus, over 185 thousand probable infections were reported in 2017, and 135 deaths were confirmed to have occurred due to this virus in the Northeastern state of Ceará. Following the Zika virus outbreak and epidemic in 2015 and 2016, the number of probable Zika infections has receded significantly in 2017, amounting to less than 20 thousand, after almost 216 thousand probable cases a year earlier.

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