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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, health spending in Brazil still lags behind more developed countries, but regionally speaking, it is one of the highest in relation to its gross domestic product. In 2020, Brazil’s spending on health was estimated at 10 percent of the country’s GDP. With a population of around 211 million inhabitants, healthcare spending in Brazil achieved a value of approximately 676 U.S. dollars per capita that year.

The size of Brazil’s healthcare system

The Brazilian healthcare system is characterized by having one of the most ambitious health programs in the world. Since the end of the 1980s, the country provides its citizens with a universal healthcare scheme known as Sistema Único da Saúde (SUS). Financed by the federal government along with local municipalities, the project supports Brazilians by getting rid of bureaucratic and budgetary constraints. Authorities rely on complementary programs such as the Programa Saúde da Família (PSF), and Mais Médicos, for addressing special needs identified among the most vulnerable communities, for instance, concerning the amount of doctors.

The implementation of such a system, however, comes with its own challenges. With long waiting times and limited resources, over one-fourth of all Brazilians end up opting for private insurance, usually as part of employment benefits. This both stems from and results on, inherent social inequalities. Such disparities are prevalent not only between the public and private sector, but also among regions, and rural and urban communities.

Emerging challenges

While more people gain access to healthcare services in the country, and inequalities get partly addressed, progress gets threatened by a rapidly changing context. The appearance of health hazards new to the region, such as tropical mosquito-borne diseases like Chikungunya and Zika, or other recent outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, place the Brazilian healthcare system in a critical position. Moreover, the increase in health conditions linked with economic development, and an aging population, such as overweight, diabetes, and cancer, present further health concerns. In order to address these challenges, efforts coming from both public and private parties need to target not only an accessible and reliable healthcare system, but also the creation of a more health-conscious and preventive culture among the Brazilian population.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Health in Brazil".

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