Brazilian Health Professionals and Resources
Health Professionals and Resources
Paralleling private insurance, human resources are disproportionately
distributed in Brazil, with overrepresentation in the wealthy states.
A strong demand for physicians persists in the Amazon region, while
61.5 percent of doctors are located in the Southeast. Physicians
also dominate the health field, comprising 46.8 percent of the work
force and serving an average of 847 people per doctor between 1988
and 1991, while nurses (one for every 3,448 people) and other auxiliary
personnel lag behind in supply.
Although most health establishments belong to the public sector
(65.2 percent public and 34.8 percent private), more private institutions
(43.2 percent) provide inpatient care than public (6.8 percent).
These establishments range from federal, state, municipal, and university
hospitals and health posts to private clinics. The distribution
of hospitals and outpatient facilities favors the South
and Southeast, at levels two to four times higher per capita
than in the North
and Northeast, where health conditions are more precarious and
the need for health care is greater. The ratio of hospital beds
per 1,000 population has remained fairly constant between 1985 (3.9)
and 1990 (3.6), and is 33 percent higher than predicted in relation
to Brazil's gross national product (GNP--see Glossary).
Brazil has adopted new medical
technologies from industrialized countries. However, specialized
and high-technology services benefit a minority of privileged patients.
Brazilians, unable to afford hospital-based medical care, rely
on both prescription and nonprescription medication to relieve their
ailments. The national pharmaceutical market in 1990 was valued
at close to US$4 billion, 70.5 percent of which was earned by commercial
pharmacies. Judging from the disproportionate availability of drugs
and medical equipment to different income groups, universal and
equitable access to health care remains a goal to be reached.
See Also Brazil Medical Tourism
Data as of April 1997