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Date: Thu, 17 Jul 97 21:00:54 CDT
From: sejup@ax.apc.org
Subject: Brazil: Cut-backs in health spending

Cut-backs in health funding

SEJUP (Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz), News from Brazil, No. 280, 17 July 1997

13 states and 18 municipalities, will not receive supplementary funds for AIDS connected programs as well as for projects dealing with the control of sexually transmitted diseases due to the fact that they spent less than 50% of federal grants last year released for such areas. The states include three in the north - Amapa, Rondonia and Roraima; four in the north-east - Ceara, Alagoas, Sergipe and Rio Grande do Norte; two in the center-west - the Federal District of Brasilia and Mato Grosso; two in the south - Parana and Santa Catarina as well as Espirito Santo in the south-east. Municipalities and states had until July 15 to show that they used at least half of the federal funds granted last year for this program in order that they might receive another grant this year. The States of Alagoas, Espirito Santo and Mato Grosso hadn't spent any of last year's grant which amounted to approximately US $1.2 million.

Eight state capitals as well did not spend 50% of last year's funds. These included Manaus (spent 18% of the grant); Maceio (40%); Joao Pessoa (23%); Natal (23%); Cuiaba (35%); Vitoria (28%) and Porto Alegre (37%). The city authorities in Sao Paulo were unable to provide figures to show how much of the approximately US $2 million federal grant was used last year. Two cities which top the AIDS list in the country - Santos (State of Sao Paulo0 and Itajai (State of Santa Catarina) had also spent less than 50% of last year's federal grant.

Despite widespread complaints about poor public health service in the State of Sao Paulo, just over US $200 million less was spent by the state on health than had been budgeted for during 1996. Last year public health represented 5.92% (approximately US $1.8 billion) of the total budget of the state. This had been the smallest percentage of the budget reserved for health since 1988. The health situation of the state has worsened considerably since then. For example, in 1978 7 thousand cases of tuberculosis were registered; this had increased to 19 thousand in 1995. In 1994 700 cases of dengue were registered; this number increased to 6883 last year. The number of new cases of leprosy registered has been in the region of 3 thousand each year during this period.