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, SAMU) 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), or to a private hospital. In larger cities, there are emergency stations that are open 24 hours a day.
The hospitals recommended to foreigners are
- Hospital Sírio-Libanês and Hospital Brasília in Brasília
- Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Hospital Sírio Libanês and Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz in São Paulo
- Hospital Copa D`Or (Copacabana) and Hospital Samaritano (Botafogo) in Rio de Janeiro.
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.
Dental service fees are more affordable in Brazil than in Finland. The quality of dental services is good especially in bigger cities.
There are plenty of pharmacies, which have a wide range of medicines. A valid prescription is required for certain medicines (such as antibiotics). You can buy some medicines without a prescription. Not all medicines on sale in Finland are necessarily available in Brazil. In bigger pharmacies, you can also get tested for COVID-19.