Healthcare and medical care
Brazil has a publicly-funded healthcare system as well as an extensive private healthcare system. Treatment in private hospitals is expensive. When travelling to Brazil, you should take out comprehensive travel insurance. The standard and availability of treatment varies by region but, in general, treatment in private clinics is of a high standard. Waiting times in the free public sector may be long, so access to private medical care is faster. Public healthcare is available to tourists in emergencies, but after first aid the treatment is usually transferred to the private sector. Sufficient treatment is not necessarily available outside the towns.
In the event of sudden serious illness, call an ambulance at the emergency number 192 (Servico de Atendimento Móvel de Urgência) or a private hospital transport service. The ambulance takes the patient to a public hospital emergency room (Emergência), where the doctor evaluates the need for referral to intensive care. The patient is transferred to a private hospital if they have travel insurance or the possibility to pay.
In case of mild illness, you can go to the nearest municipal first aid station, UPA (Unidade de Pronto Atendimento). In larger cities, there are emergency stations that are open 24 hours a day.
In the private healthcare sector, you can obtain services either through travel insurance, Brazilian health insurance or paying by card or in cash. In the private sector, you must agree in advance as to whether payment for treatment will be made through insurance, in cash or a guaranteed cheque. Some facilities accept payment only in cash.
If you are health insured in Finland, and have received treatment in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland on account of a sudden illness, worsening of a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively. You are entitled for the same reimbursement that you would have received if you had been treated in the private healthcare system in Finland. Please note that the reimbursement usually covers only a small part of the costs of the treatment. Thus, taking out a comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.
The pharmacies have a wide range of medicines. A valid prescription is required for certain medicines (such as antibiotics). Some medicines can be bought without a prescription. Not all medicines on sale in Finland are necessarily available in Brazil.