History of hospital care in São Paulo and charity

March 2020

The understanding of charity within São Paulo began to change in the 1850s. In contrast with early readings on Brazilian generosity during the early days of colonization, there was a growing perception of health problems affecting the capital and other cities within the state. This transformation underscores alterations in measures adopted to address topics of health and sanitarianism between the Imperial and Republic periods.

In the article History of hospital care in São Paulo: State grants to the misericórdia charitable associationsMárcia Regina Barros da Silva, professor at the University of São Paulo, investigates how the santas casas de misericórdia charitable associations in the state of São Paulo were subsidized by the municipal, provincial, and state governments at the turn of the twentieth century.

The researcher examines budget appropriations from 1838 to 1915 to evaluate these charitable grants as well as the growth in funding during this period. While a care network created with strong state backing, it was put into action by philanthropic assistance. This network of hospital care retained the same format until at least the first third of the twentieth century, and included misericórdia establishments created within the interior of the state of São Paulo.

Report from institution eligible for São Paulo state government subsidy, Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Faxina (Archive from the State of São Paulo).

The author comments on at least four types of resources which can be observed: the financial system, philanthropy, income from services, and public grants.

“Examination of the first existing budget for São Paulo, from the province’s General Council in 1828, shows that health as a whole was not highlighted, for various reasons. First, the province’s resources went towards organizing roadway and administrative infrastructure, and second, health was generally considered charity work”, explains Barros da Silva.

Little by little, health services began to emerge as epidemic diseases appeared. Care institutions began to receive funding, but these were initially related to those establishments which isolated those affected by mental illness, smallpox, tuberculosis, and leprosy.

Read the full article in HCS-Manguinhos:

SILVA, Márcia Regina Barros da. History of hospital care in São Paulo: State grants to the misericórdia charitable associations. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos (v. 26, supl. 1, dec.  2019).

Read the supplement on Philanthropy: HCS-Manguinhos vol.26  supl.1 Rio de Janeiro dec. 2019

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