The Mölnlycke Health Care blog

Brazil’s health at kick-off: A glance at the 2014 World Cup host country

By: Viktor Gergely, June 23 2014Posted in: The Mölnlycke Health Care blog

Mölnlycke Health Care health economist Viktor Gergely looks at Brazil and its healthcare system as Brazil takes centre stage as host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Brazil's national 11

The frenzy surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil reached fever pitch as the event kicked off on June 12. The excitement and optimism of the event has turned the eyes of the football-loving world toward Brazil. The increased scrutiny has ignited some controversy, largely focusing on Brazil’s infrastructural issues and the wide gap between rich and poor. It has been difficult for officials to justify investing more than USD 11 billion in infrastructure to support the World Cup, when education, economic inequality and healthcare are all in desperate need of attention, according to (among other outlets) Pew Research, which released figures that state that 72 percent of Brazilians surveyed are dissatisfied with things in Brazil today (up from 55 percent in 2013). More than half of those surveyed felt that hosting the World Cup was a mistake for Brazil because it took both focus and money away from public services.

The World Cup in Brazil, in light of the controversy, has provided an opportunity to look in greater depth at the healthcare system of this massive and growing country. In Brazil, where healthcare has been deemed as a right to which all have access (codified in the Brazilian constitution since 1988), universal healthcare looks quite different from a universal healthcare model in Europe, for example. But that does not mean the system has not led to strides in improved care and gains in life expectancy. One good example, as we look at some key facts and indicators in the Brazilian population and healthcare system, is the increase in how long Brazilians are expected to live – in 1990, the average Brazilian only lived to about 66 years old. This has, as shown in the infographic, increased to almost 74. The system is, as many analyses show, imperfect, but perhaps there is no better time to take a look at its successes and areas for improvement, than when the whole world is watching.


  1. “Flawed but fair: Brazil’s health system reaches out to the poor”
  2. “What the U.S. Can Learn from Brazil’s Healthcare Mess”
  3. “Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup”
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The surgical and wound care environment is always changing. The Mölnlycke Health Care blog addresses topics and trends in surgery and wound care. Among these topics are efficiency, health economy, infection control and patient safety. Read more about this blog and how to comment.

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