Jair Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro’s health plan repeats lies and anticipates ‘answers’ to charges

São Paulo – Reelection candidate Jair Bolsonaro’s (PL) government plan for health mixes self-congratulations with anticipated responses to attacks coming from opponents. Mário Scheffer, professor at the USP School of Medicine, defines it in an article published today (16) on his blog in Estadão. The specialist refers to the data presented in the document filed with the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) by the “For the Good of Brazil” coalition.

Scheffer says that in the last three and a half years, the SUS public network has shrunk, vaccination coverage has decreased, maternal mortality has increased, and the combination of the trio inequality, poverty and hunger has resulted in more illnesses and deaths.

However, the program shows a disfigured reality in the country. The disastrous conduct of the fight against covid-19, which has resulted in the loss of more than 680,000 lives so far, is treated by the government as “enviable marks during the pandemic”.

According to Scheffer, it is true that 519 million doses of vaccines against the new coronavirus were distributed, as highlighted in Bolsonaro’s health plan. But it is not true that the government has prevented about a million deaths in Brazil by the end of 2021, according to the document.

“The program refers to an international study on 185 countries – Brazil among them –, which considered the deaths avoided in each country in the period of one year after the start of immunization”, he said. However, he added, there is abundant evidence that tens of thousands of preventable deaths had already occurred in Brazil before the first dose of Coronavac was applied, on January 17, 2021, in São Paulo.”

Government plan “For the good of Brazil”

The professor recalled that, when proposing indictments, the Covid CPI recorded that the federal government was slow to buy vaccines, minimized the pandemic, discredited scientific guidelines and played against measures to contain the transmission of the virus. Events, by the way, that judging by the coalition document “For the Good of Brazil” are part of a fictional plot about the recent history of the country.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of about 17,900 lung respirators have been distributed to the states and DF (Federal District). More than 19,500 ICU beds were made available for Covid-19 and 363.7 million personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, sneakers and caps, aprons, alcohol gel, glasses and face shield) were distributed across the country. The states of the Federation received from the MS about 15.7 billion reais in financial resources to
manage in the face of Covid-19 and its consequences. 41.1 billion reais were also transferred to municipalities to apply”, reports an excerpt from the government plan.

Once again, Bolsonaro’s candidacy releases an “accountability”, for what was done before serious problems were caused by the country’s mismanagement in the pandemic. It is impossible to forget the oxygen blackout in Manaus and in neighboring cities, where the scarcity of the essential resource in the treatment of the sick was already known to the Ministry of Health. However, the delay in taking action took dozens of people, in a tragedy that made news around the world.

In addition, in the list of achievements of the current administration, Bolsonaro’s plan for health extols the “efficiency and expansion of health services to indigenous communities”. However, during the most critical time of the pandemic, the opposite occurred, as Scheffer recalled. Indigenous peoples were less likely to have an early diagnosis, timely treatment, an ICU bed, a respirator.

“The indigenist Bruno Araújo and the journalist Dom Philips, murdered, dedicated part of their lives precisely to demonstrating that the villages have precarious networks of communication, transport, health services and few opportunities to generate income. And that the presence of invaders and the violence associated with the predatory occupation of the Amazon amplify communicable diseases in the region”.

Resources for the SUS were left out

The expert noted that proposals made in Bolsonaro’s 2018 campaign and not implemented, such as the National Health Card and the inclusion of physical education professionals in family health teams, were recycled and lost momentum. And that there is no longer talk of “universal accreditation” and the “state career” of doctors.

In addition, the underfunding of the SUS and the increase in health plan fees, which hit a record under the current federal administration, are not even mentioned in the plan. As well as the dismantling of science and research, actions to prevent and combat other public health problems, policies for people with disabilities, promotion of ethnic and cultural diversity, and gender identities.

Bolsonaro’s health plan, which compared to 2018’s seems less improvised, brings even more slips. Statements contained in the document make us believe that in Brazil the resources for quality services are available to everyone. As if everyone had access to food and the social determinants of health were not behind the illness. “Quality health services increase the possibilities of enjoy (sic) of a healthy life”; “good nutrition inhibits the onset of diseases”; “15% of the total number of hospitalizations by the SUS is attributed to the lack of physical exercise”, are examples.

Another slip: baptized 38 years ago as the Unified Health System, the SUS is called in Bolsonaro’s plan the “Unified National Health System”. If it were not enough, it would still be treated as something “coordinated and directed by the Ministry of Health”. As corrected by Professor Mário Scheffer, by law, the direction of the SUS is unique, exercised in each sphere of government. “In states and municipalities, the health secretariats are the ones who coordinate and direct the SUS, so often neglected by the Ministry of Health in recent times.”

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