Right to Health Litigation in Brazil, An Overview of the Research
31 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2009
Date Written: May 15, 2009
In this paper I attempt to systematize the data and findings of 13 Brazilian academic studies by lawyers, economists and public health professionals that I have identified on the topic of right to health litigation according to the framework devised by Siri Gloppen in "Litigation as a Strategy to Hold Governments Accountable for Implementing the Right to Health" I provide a brief account of the broader context within which it seems to me the problem has to be placed to be fully understood and profitably analysed. I start with a brief picture of the current state of health of the Brazilian population and how it has evolved in the past 40 years. I then show how these aggregated indicators, reasonably good, mask huge discrepancies among and within regions in the country, and among individuals from different socio-economic groups (section II). In section III I provide a brief account of the legal framework of the right to health in Brazil, showing how its inclusion in the 1988 Constitution was the upshot of a long campaign by public health experts (called the Movimento Sanitarista, the "Sanitary Movement"), and how that explains why the Constitution expressly acknowledges and mandates that the guarantee of the right to health is not restricted to the provision of health care, but rather involves comprehensive measures and policies to meet all determinants of health. This, unfortunately, has rarely been understood by the courts in right to health litigation. In section IV I report the 13 studies that have so far been conducted by academics to try and shed light on the problem of the so-called judicialization of health in Brazil.
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