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Brazil: Against All Odds

Brazil: Against All Odds

(p.63) 3 Brazil: Against All Odds
Achieving Access
Joseph Harris
Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the historical rise of a movement of radical physicians in Brazil (the sanitaristas). After examining their struggle to expand access to healthcare and advance health equity under military dictatorship, it traces the state-based strategy that they used to institutionalize universal healthcare in the most improbable of moments following democratic transition in 1985. Specifically, it shows how they put the policy on the political agenda by embedding principles and mandates in the Brazilian constitution; by crafting legislation in the Ministry of Health; by developing an innovative implementation strategy; and creating accountability mechanisms aimed at involving citizens and ensuring that the program would live up to its promise.

Keywords:   Brazil, history, sanitaristas, healthcare, Unified Health System, SUS, constitution, dictatorship, democracy

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