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The 14,000 professionals hired through the More Doctors program through May 2014 came to strengthen the basis of primary health care in Brazil: the Family Health Strategy, bringing to over 34,000 the number of teams prepared for the daily monitoring of the health of populations on the peripheries of large and medium cities and in small municipalities in the backlands of the interior.
Opponents could not imagine that the government's reaction to the end of the CPMF was exactly the opposite of what they expected: the Ministry of Health boosted funding for the area, expanding programs to improve primary care, investments in emergency departments and the distribution of medicine to prevent chronic disease.
In the last decade, health care activities have become part of a social inclusion strategy for millions of Brazilians from all corners of the country.
• Brazil has fewer doctors per capita than Argentina and Uruguay
Before the creation of the program, there were states with only 1.8 doctors per thousand inhabitants. Worse: 22 states had even lower averages. In Acre, Amapá, Piauí, Maranhão and Pará, the proportion was less than one doctor per thousand inhabitants. To get an idea of what this means, in Argentina there are 3.2 doctors per thousand inhabitants. Compared with Uruguay (3.7 professionals per thousand) the deficit is even greater.
• Foreigners do not take jobs away from Brazilian professionals
Most of the foreign doctors in the More Doctors program do not take the place of any Brazilian doctor. From 2003 to 2011, 147,000 formal jobs positions were created for doctors in Brazil. In the same period, 93,000 new professionals entered the labor market. That's because the government increased vacancies in medical courses by 62.8% and quadrupled the offer of grants for medical residencies in strategic areas of the NHS in the last ten years.
• Mayors recognize thrimportance of More Doctors:
• Registered professionals want to help those who most need it:
• The “the worse it is, the better” strategy failed
Upon defeating the CPMF — eleven years after it was created to fund health in the previous government — the opposition expected that investments in healthcare would decline and health care would deteriorate. But that did not happen because, despite the difficulties created by opposition, the government boosted the funding for the sector. This effort resulted in increased aid to philanthropic hospitals and a reduced backlog in SUS procedures.
• More resources for Public and Philanthropic Hospitals
With 41% of hospitalizations and 37% of beds funded by the SUS, the Santa Casa Hospitals and other Philanthropic Hospitals saw a 185% increase in federal funds to promote care of the poor, with transfers of R$ 970 million in 2012. There was also an increase from 26% to 50% for payments for exams and medium or high complexity surgery. To refinance the institutions’ obligations to the Social Welfare Fund, FGTS and a Federal Tax debt of R$ 15 billion, the government determined that they increase SUS consultations by 5%, paying taxes on time on a current year basis.
• SUS procedures up by 3,673%
The remuneration of doctors, labs and hospitals that serve the SUS system never increased as much as they have during the Lula and Dilma administrations. Some procedures — exactly 14 — have been readjusted upwards by 3,673% since 2003. To understand what this means, from 1994 to 2002, only four procedures were adjusted by 132%. That was the maximum in those eight years. In 2013, in addition to increases in the procedures rates, 11 surgical interventions for treatment of cancer began to be covered by SUS. The last change for SUS oncological procedures had occurred 20 years previously, in 1993.