ABSTRACT: To identify and analyze the characteristics of consultations provided by the Unified Health System (SUS) to Brazilians living abroad in the cities of Ponta Porã, Coronel Sapucaia, Paranhos, and Sete Quedas, located on the border of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraguay. METHODS. Data were collected during a 30-day period using a form filled out for each consultation provided. All the SUS facilities in the four cities were studied (14 primary family health care units, four primary health care units, five hospitals and four laboratories). Semi-structured interviews were also performed with key informants (city health secretaries, health care unit managers, and city health council representatives).
The highest demand from Brazilians living abroad was related to primary health care services: 11.9% of the primary family health care consultations in Coronel Sapucaia, 1.1% in Sete Quedas, 3.5% in Paranhos, and 3.5% in Ponta Porã. In primary health care units, the percent of consultations to non-resident Brazilian citizens was 21.1%, 43.8%, 14.7%, and 2.3%, respectively. The interviews supported the perception that a major number of Brazilians living abroad seek health care in public services of Brazilian border cities.
Despite the considerable number of Brazilians living abroad who seek health care provided by SUS in Brazil, this demand is not taken into consideration in the planning of services and may have an impact on the quality of the health care provided.
Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública 03/2011; 29(3):185-90. · 0.85 Impact Factor