Dignified health for all who live here

Refugee Crisis

(Mark Chaves, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Rafaela Paulino, a Brazilian medical student now in the third year. She 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.


Brazil from the beginning of its colonization has been routed to thousands of people who, due to political, religious and financial issues, left their homeland and went to a “new world” in search of better living conditions for themselves and their families. Although centuries have passed and society has developed a lot, this dream of better living conditions still motivates thousands of people around the world, especially those residing in countries considered “third world” or going through a period of war and conflict, to risk, often, illegally, in a country with a different, and sometimes prejudiced, language.

In the last five years, there has been a significant increase of African and South American immigrants and refugees who have come to reside in Brazil. And like all of us, these newer residents also need medical care and decent human health care. And it is for the sake of the human being that the Brazilian Constitution guarantees access to the entire population to public health services in a free and universal way, that is, anyone has access to it. In addition, the Brazilian government grants these immigrants and refugees temporary citizenship, which allows them to have the right to enjoy the Brazilian public health system. However, there are still other essential issues that we can improve to provide these migrants with quality and humane health.

Something that we as future doctors and health professionals can improve is our understanding of the reality and culture of these people. For example, we need to understand their habits and customs in order to guide them as regards food, physical activity, prevention against sexually transmitted diseases, among other topics, in an effective and adherent way. We see this by indicating a diet to a patient from another country: here in Brazil, beans are widely accepted and consumed, as well as cheap and nutritious, but some patients from another place may not accept this dish, in the same way that some patients may have “idiopathic” hypertension due to their own eating habits and we physicians do not detect this because of lack of familiarity with exotic foods.

Another cultural aspect of enormous importance is language. The center of a doctor-patient relationship is the professional’s understanding of what afflicts the patient. This relationship is based on the communication of these two, so both need to speak in a way that one understands what the other expresses. It is up to us, health professionals, to seek strategies to understand each other’s language as much as we can to understand it.

So in my country, in order to provide better access to health for immigrants, we should seek improvements in the issues that make up the cultural understanding of those who seek our land to live. These issues are important for those who come to Brazil to have health in a dignified and human way.

About the author

Rafaela Paulino is a Brazilian medical student now in the third year. She has studied medicine course in Catholic University of Pelotas since 2017. In 2018 she has volunteered for clowntherapy and has become member of Medical Education committee at IFMSA Brazil UCPel. In the following year, she has become local secretary (LSG) of IFMSA Brazil UCPel. She wants to be a surgeon and develop the local committee.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Parliament and Council agree drastic cuts to plastic pollution of environment

Overcoming COVID-19 will require tackling inequality

Digital education is both a necessity and an advantage for the Global South. Here’s why

What can consumers do to help solve the climate change crisis?

More solidarity and interaction between generations needed to challenge age stereotypes and ingrained ageism

EU foreign investment screening mechanism becomes fully operational

Tax havens cost governments $200 billion a year. It’s time to change the way global tax works

Ebola: EU announces new funds to strengthen preparedness in Burundi

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: A new EU approach to prevention, treatment and care

Regionalization vs globalization: what is the future direction of trade?

UN condemns ‘unspeakable’ attack that leaves scores dead in central Mali

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights: the role of medical students

These are the top countries for travel and tourism in 2019

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

Myanmar doing too little to ensure displaced Rohingya return: UN refugee agency chief

Beware the fragility of the global economy

Alarming number of women mistreated during childbirth, new UN health agency figures show

China has made a shocking food production discovery – electro culture

Fossil fuel support is rising again in a threat to climate change efforts

Coronavirus: Eight macro-financial assistance programmes agreed to support enlargement and neighbourhood partners

To build back better, we must reinvent capitalism. Here’s how

An expert explains: the digital risks facing our children during COVID-19

Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on the Commission’s proposal for a new Regulation to address distortions caused by foreign subsidies in the Single Market

Being a woman: surgical coldness cannot take it away

Sudan: UN rights chief alarmed over ‘excessive force’, alleged use of live fire against protestors

3 steps to making multistakeholder partnerships a powerful force

New EU telecom rules: latest actions in time for transposition deadline

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

China is among the 20 most innovative economies for the first time

UN chief welcomes prisoner exchange between the Russia and Ukraine

A fundamental transport transformation: Commission presents its plan for green, smart and affordable mobility

4 ways governments can support start-ups and save their economies

EU Parliament: The surplus countries must support growth

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to trigger disruption, claim industry leaders

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

How Europe’s science offers hope in tackling the climate emergency

EU is right place to tackle pandemic, but reform is needed, latest survey finds

5 ways you can personally fight the climate crisis

The European Commission and EU consumer authorities publish final assessment of dialogue with Volkswagen

The UN has a 17-point plan to save the world. So how’s it doing?

Can the EU assume the mantle of global leadership?

Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct of Teva in relation to a blockbuster multiple sclerosis medicine

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

Lack of access to clean water, toilets puts children’s education at risk, says UN

UN Convention that promotes mediation to resolve trade disputes moves closer to entry into force

The response to the current COVID-19 crisis must make the EU more resilient

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Europe must listen to the people”

UN film festival encourages young people to promote peace, dialogue and empathy

EU to Google: How to dismantle European search engines in 13 steps

Commission supports reform projects in Member States for more jobs and sustainable growth

Destabilizing Lebanon after burning Syria; plotting putsch at home: King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Back to the future: flying cars are becoming a reality

EU deal on electricity market rules to benefit both consumers and environment

Want to hear about the ideas solving the world’s biggest challenges? Follow UpLink on Twitter

Humanitarian visas to avoid refugees’ deaths

US resolution to condemn activities of Hamas voted down in General Assembly

5G: How a ‘legion of robots’ could help save the rhino

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

Antitrust: Commission adopts guidance for national courts when handling disclosure of confidential information

Questions and answers: European Commission endorses Portugal’s €16.6 billion recovery and resilience plan

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s