The diabetic response to health cuts and crises in Brazil

Friday, 15 July 2016

Contributed by Luiz Kitamura, ADJ Diabetes Brasil and also available in Portuguese.

Cuts in the Brazilian health budget at the beginning of 2016 have been severe.

In the middle of Brazil’s current crisis, the Ministry of Health has suffered cuts of over R$13 billion. In light of this situation, reports of supply shortages for diabetics has risen significantly across the country. Some experts say that more than 30% of municipalities face severe problems with the dispensation of supplies.

Stirred to action

Since the beginning of the year there has been a setback in the progress diabetic patients’ organizations have achieved in terms of access during the last 10 to 15 years. In response, ADJ Brazil has been mobilised, along with 30 other patients’ organizations, to take action, including addressing complaints from patients regarding the failure to distribute glycaemic control supplements in the Basic Health Units in the Brazilian capital.

This year ADJ Diabetes is focusing on four public policies with the National Programme of Youngsters and Adults with Diabetes. 30 representatives from 30 diabetes patients’ organizations met in May to discuss them.

Medicines management programme and other suggestions

The group discussed a potential supplies and medicines management programme, which will help the government know whether the supplements dispensed to diabetes patients are actually being used; and a survey on medicines and supplies that are lacking in many munipalities, taking municipal, state and federal level action to reduce and solve this problem.

As well as this topic, other initiatives for social control were chosen:

  • Continuing to include rapid action insulin analogues for children and youngsters on the RENAME list (National List of Essential Medicines)
  • A training programme for health professionals so they can provide appropriate assistance to people with diabetes
  • Developing actions so that all Brazilian municipalities can use the Diabetics’ Feet Manual edited by the Ministry of Health in 2016
  • Proposing to assess the accuracy of bills in the state which are not identified with the INMETRO seal or a report issued by IPEM (Institute of Weights and Measures) or any official body or institution
  • Implementing a programme of healthy eating in schools; proposing Federal Law on priority of care with respect to examinations for people with diabetes in clinics and hospitals.

ADJ Brasil

A map of negligence

ADJ Brazil also supports other projects such as the “Map of negligence of Diabetes in Brazil”, led by journalist and ADJ board member, Luana Alves, who manages the “Diabetes and me” blog. She created the Map of Negligence, which will attempt to gather and map cases of abandonment of people with diabetes across the country. Using this, ADJ will be able to see major problems, where they are and be able to hold authorities and policy makers to account.

This is one of the ways in which the patient community constantly promotes education on and treatment for diabetes in Brazil.


Top image credit: By Governo do Brasil [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bottom image credit: Luiz Kitamura, II National Youth and Adults with Diabetes Meeting in the Paulista Legislative Institute (ILP), the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo State.