Rethinking the access to healthcare in the Family Health Strategy

  • Charles Dalcanale Tesser
  • Armando Henrique Norman Universidade de Durham


This article presents interpretative hypothesis about the absence of institutional rules for healthcare access to Primary Health Care (PHC) in Brazil, specifically in Family Health Strategy (FHS). Access now is characterized by deviation and/or undervaluation in its operational aspect of providing rapid access to longitudinal clinical care. The hypothesis for this problem has been contextualised along two main axes: SUS institutional norms and the internal debate within the Collective Health field. In the first axis we discuss the North-American influence on Brazilian public health and the understanding of PHC as a “basic package” of healthcare services; the priority given to health promotion in the institutional health policies, as well as the Embracement (the only policy to stimulate the easy access in PHC/FHS) and the sizing of users/FHS team ratio. All that gives support for expanding and resizing the users/FHS ratio. The second axis, discuss Brazil’s relative isolation from the experience of developed countries with strong PHC; the critique of the relationship between biomedicine and capitalism; the emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention as the priority working objectives in PHC/FHS; the distance kept by the academic environment of the reality of FHS services; Brazilian social stratification, which fosters the use of subsidized private health systems by elites and middle classes. Finally, we argue that easy access to longitudinal healthcare should be regarded as fundamental for achieving the four dimensions which must converge into the PHC/FHS action: the ethical-political, anthropological and epidemiological dimensions and the social determinants on health and disease.


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How to Cite
Tesser, C., & Norman, A. (2014). Rethinking the access to healthcare in the Family Health Strategy . Saúde E Sociedade, 23(3), 869-883.