Brazil, with a population of about 200 million, has emerged as a major innovator in public service provision in the developing world. It boasts of highly successful state-funded programs tackling public health issues and related development concerns such as extreme inequality, poverty and malnutrition.

India, with over six times the population (1.2 billion), has similar development challenges and has been far less successful in tackling them. Would it make greater sense for developing countries, especially two large democracies, to look to each other for solutions rather than to the global north?

As the world grapples with questions of health financing and effective provisioning of healthcare, could the Brazilian system provide some answers?

This project examines aspects of the Brazilian health and public services system in an attempt to understand what might be replicable. It focuses on three programs: the Bolsa Familia, a conditional monthly family allowance system for the poorest; the publicly funded Unified Health System (SUS) meant to provide healthcare to all; and Fiocruz, the public sector entity responsible for manufacturing vaccines for the national immunization program and for research into and introduction of new drugs.

Rema Nagarajan's picture
Rema Nagarajan, an assistant editor at the Times of India, is currently a Nieman Global Health Reporting Fellow. Having completed the academic component of her fellowship at Harvard, she...