Silvio Tendler’s documentary defends the effectiveness of SUS – Culture

“Health has a cure” underlines the importance of Brazil’s public vaccination program, which provides 300 million doses (photo: Caliban / disclosure)

“Health has a cure,” the director Silvio Tendler’s documentary defends the importance of the Single Health System (SUS), the only one that provides 190 million people in the world for free. the largest public organ transplant program on the planet, funding 95% of procedures in Brazil.

Dr. Drauzio Varella, one of the interviewees, says that the big problem for 20% of the population with a health plan is the belief that they do not need SUS.

“The ideal of any middle class person is to make a pact. When that happens, no matter how cheap the plan is, he thinks he won’t get his foot in the SUS again. However, we are now seeing a different situation. In many Brazilian cities, private beds were sold out and the public system was at the service of many citizens, highlighting the importance of SUS, ”he says.


Every year, SUS vaccinates 10 million children against polio in a single day. The system provides 300 million doses free of charge to the population.

“In developed countries, the government approves part of national vaccination programs, but another part of private initiative, such as insurance. In Brazil, it’s free for everyone, ”said Akira Homa, former president of Fundao Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz).

The documentary, shot in the COVID-19 pandemic and produced with the help of Fiocruz, interviewed users, healthcare professionals and civil society representatives.

” The largest universal public system with the lowest proportion of public funding in the world. There is no public system in the world with less than 70% funding. In Brazil, it accounts for 45% of total health expenditure ”

Carlos Gadelha, PhD in Economics

Model and actress Tarcinara Vieira says she was cured of tuberculosis thanks to SUS. “I received all the medicine I needed and in the six months of treatment there was not a single one missing. If SUS didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be here because my mother and I were unemployed and couldn’t afford the medicine. “

The feature film shows the historical disability of the population in terms of public health. At the end of the twentieth century, the treatment of diseases was carried out by charitable or charitable organizations. In the 1920s, workers with a formal contract and social security contributions began to gain access to the social protection system.

In 1963, the government of João Goulart, the 3rd National Conference on Health, discussed the creation of a unified system. “It was the first time that municipalization was talked about as a right to health. Social security medicine was moving in one direction and the public system in the other, ”says Dr. Ligia Bahia, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).


The military dictatorship, beginning in 1964, funded health workers to build hospitals with the goal of purchasing these services through social security. “At the end of the military regime, allegations of fraud were intense,” says Lygia.

The process of democratization led to the establishment of the SUS, guaranteeing health as a right of all and a duty of the State, as defined by the 1988 Constitution.

The implementation of the system never followed strict law. Weaknesses were even more pronounced in the COVID-19 pandemic. “It starts with the need to have a funding base and political support. the largest universal public system with the lowest proportion of public funding in the world. There is no public system in the world with less than 70% funding. In Brazil, it accounts for 45% of total health expenditure, ”said Carlos Gadelha, PhD in Economics.

However, SUS offers research, care, prevention programs, vaccination campaigns, and drug distribution, including cancer treatments, hemodialysis sessions, major surgeries, implants, and hospitalizations in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

“At the university hospital where I work, we built an ICU in 20 days, with 100% SUS resources. I see a SUS with a lot of resistance. With all its weaknesses, gaps and flaws, it has tremendous potential. It is without a doubt the greatest heritage of the Brazilian people, ”said Pedro Carvalho Diz, a member of the National Network of Physicians and Popular Physicians.


“Usually we only see photos of crowded corridors, people who have died in line, people who have not been examined. Often, SUS goes down to the hospital and down the aisle. In fact, they want to forget that SUS is much bigger. There is a great deal of politics and discourse that he denies and personifies as a great evil, ”said Dr. Pedro Carvalho.

Nadine Clausel, President and CEO of Porto Alegre Clinic Hospital, argues that the State guarantees resources for the system.

“With the loss of jobs and income, people were unable to pay their agreements and as a result, SUS ended up covering an even larger contingent of dependents. The public health system should have a state policy with a protected budget, regardless of who is in government, ”he says.

* Fellowship ngela Faria under the care of the assistant editor


Documentary by Silvio Tendler. 95 m Available on Caliban Cinema’s YouTube channel.

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