10/22/2013 09:17 am ET Updated Dec 22, 2013

Ways to Reduce Disease and Poverty in Brazil

One cannot just address the health of a child with a severe respiratory disease if the environment where he lives will only continue the vicious circle of re-hospitalization, where his parents are unemployed and his brothers deprived of education and citizenship. A three-year study conducted by Georgetown University proves that changes could only occur with integral action that also promotes health and human rights, because one is not possible without the other. It is very important to highlight that the research also proves that the positive impact of Saúde Criança in the welfare of the family is long-term and sustainable.
The analysis shows that the number of days children spent in the hospital during the first year of the disease fell from 62 to 9 after participation in the methodology; this represents a reduction of almost 90%. That means not only a significant improvement in the family's health, but also a relief for the Government Health Care Units.
In education, the percentage of children with a health problem attending school increased from 10% at the beginning of the program to nearly 92%.
Saúde Criança's methodology also brought more resources to families of children with serious illnesses. The income of families served nearly doubled and there was a substantial increase in the percentage of employed adults from 54% to 70%. The survey also shows that adults of the families impacted by the methodology have 12% more chance of being employed than other people in the same geographical area and with similar socioeconomic profiles.
Changes also occured in the housing situation of families served, where the percentage of owners with houses already paid increased from 25% to 50%; this is critical since homeownership is an important step towards their economic self-sufficiency. With regards to citizenship, 6.6% of households had access to government benefits at the beginning of the program, while 20.8% have access today.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus once said that Saúde Criança had created a powerful methodology to include the poorest in Brazil. The Georgetown University research proves that it is possible to unite health and human rights in a social inclusion program sustainable and reflects today the continued wellbeing of more than 15,000 families.

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Vera Cordeiro
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Associação Saúde Criança (Brazil Child Health)