So in Brazil there is a different type of health system which we are learning all about. So SUS, which is the official name of the health system here is run by the government and put in place PSF, which stands for porto saude de Familia (Family health clinic). The government in Brazil wrote in their constitution that it is a human right to be healthy, and have health care. So citizens of Brazil, and even non-citizens who attend public health centers don't have to pay a thing, not even for medicine or prescriptions. It is funded by the government, local, municipalities and federal. There are PSFs which are made of teams of a doctor, dentist, dentist assistant and nurses as well as a local agents, divided by areas. so depending on where you live, you attend a different PSF. The main goal of these PSFs are too prevent disease and only send people to secondary health care (specialized), or the hospital if they need it, to keep less people in the hospital if they don't need to go.
We got to visit many PSF's on my trip this weekend. I got to see one in a rural area, of Sacko, where me and three other students in my program got to talk to a nurse there all morning. We talked to her about what medication she had available, what type of programs they ran, what tests they were able to do, it was all very interesting. They run multiple programs to prevent and educate people such as family planning, aids and condom use, and making sure that kids are vaccinated. She showed us the forms that people fill out, and where they keep the medication. One major problem in Brazil is hypertension and high blood pressure, so they were actually preparing for an event to educate people about what that is, how it impacts them and nutrition. One major problem that they still have despite all this though is that even though people are aware, they just don't want to take their medication, so they don't.
The next day I got to travel to igaupe, and travel in a group of students with a community agent. Agents are from the community they work in and go to each person's house to see how they are doing, bring them medication, and talk to them about their health. The agent we went with was so nice and helpful and you could tell he just loved his job. He took us to four different house so we got to experience how the PSF has helped the community there in different ways. The first was a lady who was very old and practiced traditional healing, she talked about the people she served, and that she worked with the PSF. The second was a woman with high blood pressure. The third was a family where a grandmother had two daughters that had had their babies three days apart! They were so cute, only about 40 days old, and I got to hold one of them! They said that this is an area where the PSFs have made a huge impact, because before the PSF the women would have had to travel 2 hours to get to the nearest hospital. The last man we visited was an elderly gentleman, who had a wounded leg and he kept telling us that he loved the nurses and everyone was always so kind to him, he was very sweet.
So in Rural areas PSFs have really made an impact, because they do not have man private hospitals or institutions around. The community all know each other and it is easy for the agents to reach out to individuals and for individuals to see the impact that the PSF has made. It was very cool to see something that I have learned about in action.