With the Brazilian diversity designed at the video screens of the Center of Culture and Events of the Federal University of Goiás, an auditorium with 5 thousand seats occupied sang the national anthem to kick off officially the 11 edition of the Brazilian Congress of Public Health – Abrascão 2015 from Goiânia.
The Main Table seemed small and at the same time imposing for having such representation: 19 authorities attended the beginning of the Congress. A welcome note was given by the President of the Congress, professor Elias Rassi. In a speech which featured pauses of thrilled breathing, Rassi spoke for nearly 15 minutes, about the time facing health – “In Brazil, the stimuli given to healthcare sector, via tax waivers, or opening up the sector to foreign capital, reinforce this cruel division in healthcare and disease and bring dark clouds over our heads …”
Elias still rescued the indispensable historical role of the health reform movement – “In the struggle for democracy, the movement captained thousands of demonstrations during the decade of 1970, they were decisive in the reconquering of the Brazilians’ right to choose, in the elections for the municipalities of capitals, whether for Governors and Presidents. It is important to recognize that this was not enough and it is not enough. More than twenty years of dictatorship were able, among many evils, also of disordering for a long time our managerial and administrative capacity as well as our political representations. Not by chance, the “political reform” under discussion in Congress is nothing but a jumble of proposals geared to cosmetic changes, where they change not to be changed” highlighted Rassi.
The President of the Brazilian Association of Public Health, Luis Eugenio de Souza, recalled that, before the creation of the Unified Health System (SUS), the one who had a formal job paid a pension plan and was entitled to assistance by the National Institute of Social Security Medical Assistance (Inamps). “The ones who didn’t have formal work had the philanthropic system, other alternatives. With SUS this was over with.” Luis Eugenio contextualized Abrasco in the history of the health reform – “The previous decades incited us sanitarians to want more. But unfortunately after the election of 2015, we are witnessing a radical reorientation of our public policies: SUS is restricted to the poor, I remember Oswaldo Cruz saying ‘we shall not fade not to disparage’ and the need to repel attacks on the SUS! Let’s resist the private logic. End to subsidies to private plans. Let the enemies of the people not dare touch our rights! “, called the President of Abrasco.
Joaquin Molina (representative of the Pan American Health Organization-Paho and the World Health Organization in Brazil) commented that he is always very impressed with the power of Abrasco in bringing together so many ‘ workers ‘ of Public Health together – “Abrasco for me is strong, powerful and dynamic”. Molina also said that although he receives information and material about the Brazilian health, through Paho, “the best material I could get is all here, in debates, in activities, in the exchange of experiences” and ended with an important invitation “To the defense of Universal SUS : count on with Paho.”
The Health Minister delayed by almost an hour of the opening ceremony Abrascão 2015, and began apologizing, following for the greetings and advanced – “the time has come to stop discussion of funding and, mainly, of the relationship private/public, placing the finger on the issue of public services and the operators of private plans. Abrasco has history and tradition to make this debate”, said Chioro. Putting himself at ease in another Abrascão, Chioro joined the Group of five thousand congressmen: it is my entity, I’m a sanitarian, we abrasquians, we have a historic commitment for the right to health. I welcome the new team of Abrasco, my master Gastão Wágner. I want to hear the Association for the construction of the new program More Specialties and I want to discuss the health promotion fund”, he said.
Minister Chioro said that the Government will make an effort to overturn the proposal for amendment to the Constitution (PEC) 451. He said that the text favors economic interests contrary to those of the majority of the Brazilian society. The PEC, which obliges employers to pay health plans to all employees, is written by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), and it is on the Committee on Constitution and Justice. “We will fight with full force to the PEC 451 not passing [in Congress], which is a real step backwards in relation to the achievements that we had, that health is a right of all and duty of the State, ending with the figure of the indigent in the health area”, Chioro stressed that the Government will mobilize all forces to ensure that the proposal does not pass in the House.
Another Minister present at the opening, Aldo Rebelo of Science, Technology and Innovation, assessed the cooperation of Brazil in the actions of cure and prevention-“we cannot underestimate the international scenario, we need to continue investing in research and public policies in support of its scientific independence. I celebrate the mobilization of the ladies and gentlemen present in favour of health policy and for the good of society and of the Brazilian people”, said Aldo Rebelo, in his speech at the Convention Center in Goiânia.
15th National Conference on Health
Very much applauded, the President of the National Health Council (CNS) Maria do Socorro de Souza opened his speech noting that in 2015 three major health discussion spaces are open, among them 11th Abrascão, the congress of the National Council of Municipal Secretaries for Health (Conasems) and the 15th National Conference on Health. “We need to recognize the legitimacy of these spaces and of the politicians who are there, they are people who think, propose, evaluate and monitor health. The theme of this Abrascão articulates a strategic agenda for health. ” The President of the CNS also emphasized the need to rethink the production processes in the country without sacrificing the working class.
According to her, health in Brazil is still seen as money spent, despite being a social policy with an immense and important dimension. “We need to confront democracy as a new political reform”. Socorro reinforced that the tax reform cannot leave the agenda of Governments, which need to democratize the media in the country, as well as discuss the deregulation of pesticides and the research with human beings. “We still have many problems and challenges ahead of us, but we have to concentrate all efforts on our advances to move forward in the struggle for a fair and universal health care.”
Authorities in Goiás
In the view of the Dean of the Federal University of Goiás, Orlando Alfonso Valle do Amaral, the Unified Health System is one of the largest public health systems, if not the greatest, and that needs to be strengthened – “Hence the importance of events like the 11th Brazilian Congress of public health, which UFG proudly hosts. Health, as well as education, are essential ingredients to nation-building”, said Orlando.
During the ceremony, the Mayor of Goiânia Paulo Garcia took the opportunity to publicly thank the federal government investment in the amount of 1 billion reais to the constructions, including the health sector – “this investment contributes to the democratization of the access to health, in the city meeting approximately 4.5 million people a month”. Garcia also stressed the need of regionalisation so that the population can be met with quality and priority in all municipalities, interior and capital, so that access to basic and preventive health procedures are guaranteed.
The opening ceremony of the 11th Brazilian Congress of public health was also attended by the Secretary of Health in exercise, Halin Girade; the Congressman Rubens Otoni; the first lady of the municipality, Teresa Beiler; the Health Care Secretary of the Health Ministry Lumena Furtado; the CEO of Anvisa Jarbas Barbosa; the President of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Paulo Gadelha; the Executive Director of the Global Health workforce, James Campbell; the Secretary of the Federal Council of ]Nursing, Mirna Albuquerque Frota; the President of the National Council of Municipal Health Secretariats, Fernando Monti; the State Senate Isaura Lemos and the Municipal Secretary of Health, Fernando Machado.
By Vilma Reis with information from Kalyne Menezes, Erneilton Lacerda, Bruno Dias, Tatiane Vargas and Aline Leal from Abrasco.