Challenges to Public Health in the Favelas of Metropolitan Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Authored by: Robert E. Snyder , Kathryn L. Lovero , Claudete A.A. Cardoso , Lee W. Riley , Alon Unger

Handbook of Global Urban Health

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138206250
eBook ISBN: 9781315465456
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter describes the growth and impact on public health of urban informal settlements or “slums” in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro, colloquially known as favelas in Brazil. We outline the specific physical, legal, and social characteristics of life in favelas in this region in addition to describing several of the public health systems’ responses to support Brazilians who live in such communities, such as the Sistema Único de Saúde, introduced in the 1988 Constitution as a single-payer health system. We then highlight some of these characteristics by examining select diseases through a series of case studies from our work in these communities.

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