The Brazilian Unified Health System and Coronavirus

March 2020

At the current moment in History we are living with the pandemic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it is important to look at the national public health care systems, which will ultimately have to counter mortality rates within territorial boundaries. In the case of Brazil, the Unified Health System (Sistema Unico de Saude, SUS) will play a decisive role in this context.

To understand its foundations and rationale behind its creation, we have selected one of the articles most read in HCS-Manguinhos on the subject: Health reform and the creation of the Sistema Único de Saúde: notes on contexts and authors, by Historians Carlos Henrique Assunção Paiva and Luiz Antonio Teixeira, from Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/FIOCRUZ.

The authors explain how within the context of the return to democracy, the new constitution enacted in 1988 transformed health into an individual right and initiated the process of creating a public, universal and decentralized health system, profoundly altering the organization of public health in Brazil. The essay discusses the main institutional, political and social aspects of this health reform, along with the changes, the continuities and the major initiatives, based on the literature published by the most widely read authors in this field of study.

Among the factors highlighted are the lack of coordination and harmony between the system for training personnel in Brazil and the epidemiological and care needs of the population, as felt within the health services continued to be one of the most urgent problems to be tackled in order to achieve the optimum functioning of the contemporary Brazilian health system.

Without purporting to offer an exhaustive analysis, the researchers discuss how the historiography written by authors who were also actors in the process assess its main features, along with the genesis of the process and the legacy of health reform in Brazil.

Read the full article in HCS-Manguinhos:

Paiva, Carlos Henrique Assunção, & Teixeira, Luiz Antonio. Health reform and the creation of the Sistema Único de Saúde: notes on contexts and authorsHistória, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos (v. 21, n.1, jan./mar. 2014).

Read the table of contents of the HCS-Manguinhos (v. 21, n.1, jan./mar. 2014) special edition on the SUS.  

Read the FIOCRUZ special page on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) here.

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