The current devaluation of primary health care professionals

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Emanuel Messias Felix Neves, a 19-year-old medical student from Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The current devaluation of primary health care professionals has caused significant greed for specialties. The complexity of the selections for specialization has grown because of the need for an increasingly rigid choice for medical specialty candidates. This is due to the growing devaluation of primary health care professionals.

The Brazilian public health service is based on the division of the system into levels of complexity, with primary care as the main gateway. Therefore, the number of Basic Health Units is considerably higher, aiming to attend most of the patients. Due to the large number of units, administration often renders these services unserviceable and inadequate, thus making working conditions harder.

Basic health care is essential for the universality of clinical care, because it can effectively treat low complex injuries, being responsible for resolving up to 80% of the demands brought to the service, reducing to 20% the need for specialized care with bigger cost and complexity. In addition, primary health care professionals are responsible for health promotion and early interventions, which contributes to the prevention of more complex diseases. Herewith, the reduction of the availability of professionals dedicated to primary care, demands in the increase of the costs associated with health care.

With the constant devaluation of primary care professionals, from the absence of an adequate work environment with material and structure for the exercise of medicine, professional overload and lack of career planning, the young people do not show interest in dedicating themselves to this area, which is incompatible because they are responsible for most part of the demands associated with health. Therefore, the valuation of these professionals is necessary to maintain a sufficient number to meet the demand of patients.

For this valorization to take place, administrative changes are necessary that, initially, improve working conditions in the health units, providing appropriate material and structure for decent exercise and quality of health care. In addition, the number of patients should be adequate to that of professionals, so that there is no overload, allowing unsatisfactory procedures and consultations, thus preserving the quality of clinical examination and care.

As noted above, it is recognized the relevance of primary care professionals for the proper functioning of the health system. The precariousness of health services takes away the new generation of health workers, diverting them to specialized careers, making the sector in need of professionals. It is the role of health managers to create conditions for the proper exercise of the profession, thus attracting more workers to the area.

About the author

Emanuel Messias Felix Neves is a 19-year-old from Brazil. He is at third year medical student at Health Science Institute in Montes Claros, Brazil, and a member of International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) at the Local Exchange Officer position. He have a increasing interest in medical education, surgery and research. He is also involved with research at biopsychosocial health in medical students.

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