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Primary Health Care in Brazil

image of Primary Health Care in Brazil

Primary health care in Brazil is well-organised, the result of sustained commitment to providing high quality primary health care for the whole population. Brazil has implemented a set of reforms over the past decades to improve the distribution of doctors, develop new forms of service organisation, introduce new financing models, and implement a range of quality improvement initiatives. This review uses internationally recognised indicators and policy frameworks to examine the performance of primary health care in Brazil. While the review points to notable successes, Brazil continues to face challenges as its population ages, risk factors such as obesity are on the rise, and emerging pandemic threats require resilience and adaptability. The report points to key actions that Brazil should consider in the coming years to strengthen performance of primary health care, especially screening and prevention for major non-communicable diseases, improve quality of primary health care provision, address workforce shortages and pursue a digital transformation. A companion publication with a health system review of Brazil examines the main challenges and approaches needed to improve the performance of the Brazilian health system.

English Also available in: Portuguese

Screening in primary health care for the main chronic non-communicable diseases in Brazil

In Brazil, chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension are of high public health importance. Brazil has already built mechanisms in the PHC sector to screen for some of the most epidemiologically relevant diseases. Some cancers, hypertension and diabetes have screening and prevention strategies, but more could be done to improve depth and scope of such strategies. Key priorities are to move towards population-based screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer, with a personalised approach and more communication strategies. In the area of diabetes and hypertension, Brazil will need to further develop disease management pathways with a people‑centred perspective, integrating all health care providers across different sectors. Family health teams will need to have the right tools, capacities, and incentives to undertake these responsibilities. Last but not least, a more comprehensive information system based on registries, and allowing linking different data sources will also be important.

English Also available in: Portuguese

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