Impact of the Mais Médicos (More Doctors) Program in reducing physician shortage in Brazilian Primary Healthcare

Sábado Nicolau Girardi Ana Cristina de Sousa van Stralen Joana Natalia Cella Lucas Wan Der Maas Cristiana Leite Carvalho Erick de Oliveira Faria About the authors

Abstract

The Mais Médicos (More Doctors) Program (PMM) was put in place in Brazil aiming to reduce inequalities in access to Primary Healthcare. Based on diverse evidence that pointed to a scenario of profound shortage of doctors in the country, one of its central thrusts was emergency provision of these professionals in vulnerable areas, referred to as the Mais Médicos para o Brasil (More Doctors for Brazil) Project. The article analyses the impact of the PMM in reducing shortage of physicians in Brazilian municipalities. To do this, it uses the Primary Healthcare Physicians Shortage Index, which identifies and measures the shortage in the periods of March 2003 and September 2015, before and after implementation of the program. The results show that there was a substantial increase in the supply of physicians in primary healthcare in the period, which helped reduce the number of municipalities with shortage from 1,200 to 777. This impact also helped reduce inequalities between municipalities, but the inequities in distribution persisted. It was also found that there was a reduction in the regular supply of doctors made by municipalities, suggesting that these were being simply substituted by the supply coming from the program. Thus, an overall situation of insecurity in care persists, reflecting the dependence of municipalities on the physician supply from the federal government.

Key words
Physician shortage; Mais Médicos Program; Primary Healthcare

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