The multiple borders in the health care provided to foreigners in Corumbá, Brazil

Clarisse Mendes Pinto Gomes Ferreira Milton Augusto Pasquotto Mariani Sergio Iván Braticevic About the authors

Corumbá is the largest Brazilian city to border with Bolivia and has a better health infrastructure than its neighbor country and, associated with the fact that Bolivia does not provide free services to all its residents, the city of Corumbá has attracted a significant flow of borderland population who seek local free health services, making it a scenario of coexistent behaviors and identities, mostly controversial ones. This article presents some reflections on empirical data from interviews with health professionals in Corumbá and aims to analyze the multiple borders recognized from these speeches. For that purpose, theoretic contributions are used, with geographical and anthropological supplementation, to understand the different border approaches extracted from the perspective of health professionals about the population that lives at the border and also about Integrated Border Health System-SIS-Fronteiras, a project created by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in 2005. The information obtained from qualitative field research shows that the high level of permeability with the political border between Brazil and Bolivia has favored the construction of ethnic and cultural boundaries, in which the foreigner, especially the Bolivian, is the "other" in a social interaction among health professionals and users inside health units. And yet they reveal many challenges in implementing the SIS-Fronteiras project in the border region, above all, health professional's lack of knowledge about the project and its objectives.

Borders; Identities; Public Health Care


Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
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