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Health care for all in Brazil improves, but inequalities continue

Access to medical care for a large chunk of population in Brazil improved significantly, thanks to the combined Unified Health System and public policies, as seen on research published in the special edition of the International Journal for Equity in Health.

Health inequalities persist, however, stating further the need to eradicate the problem.

The papers condensed the established progress of Brazil in minimizing its traditionally big gap in health care access and status, and at the same emphasized the significant areas in need of additional efforts.

“By presenting this panorama together in one issue it is hoped that it will reinforce calls to strengthen health and social programs within Brazil and also contribute to the larger global conversation and burgeoning social movement to prioritize actions that tackle the social determinants of health and well-being,” James Macinko, a professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Consisted of 14 papers, the study looked into the differences in the geographic regions of the country as well as its socioeconomically and culturally diverse population in terms of quality of life, health behaviors, health care access and use, injuries and violence, and chronic diseases.

While less likely to need help were the wealthiest, they were said to be over twice as likely to receive formal care as opposed to people in the lower socioeconomic groups.

On the other hand, the poor relied primarily on informal care given by family and friends, the study found.

Forty-five percent of adult population in Brazil reported to have at least one non-communicable illness such as hypertension, chronic kidney failure, and diabetes, with greater frequency among women, persons over 55 years old, illiterate persons or those who didn’t complete elementary education, and people in the southern, southeastern, and central-western regions of the country.

It also discovered that injuries incurred from road accidents were highest in the poorest regions such as the Central West, Northeast, and North.

Found were significant contributions involving motorcycle injuries, especially among brown-skinned or black males aging 18 to 29 who drink alcohol and have less than a secondary education.

Using data from the Brazilian National Health Survey in 2014, it offers the first-ever comprehensive study of inequalities in health in Brazil.

NewsNarratives (formerly Wired Correspondence) aims to become an independent and progressive online magazine that will focus on underreported social issues and human interest stories in the Philippines and elsewhere written in narrative, longform journalism. We intend to extensively cover stories of people and communities whose struggles are left undercovered, unheard, or unaddressed by the governments or other institutions. But as a progressive publication, we focus less on what these institutions failed to do for them, rather focus more on what can still be done. Then again, it’s not all about the failures and struggles. We also want good stories that inspire and give hope. So, we will feature stories of people who won life’s struggles in hopes of learning from them and of ordinary individuals who are contributing extraordinary work whether to their family or community—yes, the many unsung heroes in our society. We aim to help and inspire people through our storytelling, by producing content that targets the heart to feel and provokes the brain to act on it—in a good way. We start all these in our own backyard, the Philippines, with a dream of pursuing elsewhere.

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