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| | |-+  Brazil Vows Better Care to Blacks
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Author Topic: Brazil Vows Better Care to Blacks  (Read 6803 times)
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« on: August 21, 2004, 08:52:34 PM »

Municipal and state administrators of the Brazilian Federal Health System are gathering now in Brasília, Brazil's capital, to discuss the health care given to blacks by the government. To deal with Brazil's recognized racism, the Lula administration has created the Secretariat for the Promotion of Social Equality.

Legally guaranteed equal and universal healthcare access has not assured blacks the same treatment given to whites in Brazil. This is the opinion of representatives of social organizations linked to the black movement. They are in Brasília attending the National Health Seminar on the Black Population.

Fernanda Lopes, a researcher, presented statistics that illustrate racial disparities in the health sector. One of her studies shows, for example, that the number of deaths related to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum complications among women between 10 and 49 years of age is three times greater among blacks than whites, for lack of prenatal care.

In 2002, 8.9 percent of black women who gave birth in the Northern Region of Brazil received no prenatal care, as against 6.5 percent of their white counterparts. In the South and Southeast, this difference was even greater, double.

In the Northeast, 10.1 percent of black expectant mothers failed to receive prenatal care, while among whites this percentage was 6.9 percent. And in the Center-West the difference was 3.9 percent versus 1.8 percent.

Another fact revealed by the study is that while infant mortality was 21 percent greater among black children than white children in 1980, the difference jumped to 40 percent in 2000. According to the author of the study, the factors gender and income have contributed to worsening the situation.

The study, which compiles data from research conducted all over the country, was prepared for the National Health Foundation, with technical and financial assistance from the World Bank, government agencies responsible for the Program to Combat Institutional Racism in Brazil, and the British Ministry for International Development.

For the author of the study, it is essential that the race component be taken into account when defining priorities in terms of government measures, programs, and policies for the black population in the health area.

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