Increasing Access to Care in Brazil

“The quality of care in the public health care system is very poor," said Neuci, a mother of two teenage daughters who lives in Cachoeirinha, Brazil. Cachoeirinha is a large favela located outside Rio de Janeiro. It is a neighborhood where poverty, violence, and drug use are rampant, and the rate of HIV/AIDS has soared.

“When BEMFAM came to the community, we thought their clinic was for rich people,” Neuci explained. “But as we began to use it, we realized it’s for us. We are always treated with dignity and respect there, and given the highest quality of care.“

In Latin America and the Caribbean, adolescent fertility rates surpass the world average and over half of all pregnancies in the region are unintended. Together with BEMFAM, our local partner in Brazil, we are developing innovative programs to provide essential sexual and reproductive health services for the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the country.

For example, BEMFAM joined forces with the Brazilian government to develop an innovative partnership with over 500 municipalities to make services more accessible. Municipal governments agreed to cover a portion of the costs for services, which allows BEMFAM to provide high-quality health care for many who would otherwise go without. The success of this partnership to provide access is evident: nearly 97% of BEMFAM’s clients are poor, marginalized, or underserved.

“I go to the clinic for all of my gynecological needs, including contraception and cancer screenings," said Neuci. "My two daughters attend the youth meetings and go for their health care, too. BEMFAM’s work here is very important.”

Returning Home: A Reflection on Progress in Brazil


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