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Brazil: President Kim praises Bahia Hospital for giving Poor better access to Healthcare

March 4, 2013

In Brazil, 300 000 households benefit from a well-equipped free hospital located in the suburbs.

World Bank Group

  • About 280,000 people have been treated in Brazil's first hospital under a public-private partnership model.
  • Hospital do Suburbio, which opened in 2010, was the first public hospital to be built in Salvador in 20 years.
  • The hospital covers 11 poor neighborhoods, making up 25 percent of Salvador’s population.

Outside Bahia’s Hospital do Surburbio, all seems tranquil: white stucco buildings, manicured lawns, and palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze. Inside, it’s another story.

The hospital, a state-of-the-art medical facility, has provided more than 1.8 million medical procedures since opening in 2010, offering much needed health care services to low-income families in Salvador, Bahia.  

Hospital do Suburbio, a public-private partnership assisted by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has also created 1,200 local jobs in a successful business model that six other Brazilian states have begun to adopt.   

Results-driven and client oriented, the medical facility has been named one world’s most innovative projects by global consulting firm KPMG.

“This is an example of what we can do by working with the state and bringing the expertise of the private sector to provide high quality health services to those without access”, said World Bank Group President Jim Kim after touring the facilities. 

Salvador was Kim’s first stop in a three-day official visit to Brazil. He said he’d made the northeastern state his first port of call because the Bank’s partnership with the state of Bahia “reflects well the vision and results that we can achieve together, with one shared goal: helping reduce poverty, while creating opportunities for all citizens.”

Kim was accompanied by Governor Jaques Wagner, and International Financial Corporation CEO Jin-Yong Cai.

" It is an example of what we can do by working with the state and bringing the expertise of the private sector to provide high quality health services to those without access. "

Jim Kim

World Bank Group President

Keeping its hard-earned reputation as a prime healthcare provider is at the top of the hospital agenda.

A recent incident that took place during Bahia’s legendary Carnival is testament to this.

At the height of the festivities, when, as Brazilians like to say, the world stops to celebrate for a week,  lab technicians found out that blood test equipment, used to perform about 1,600 analysis each day, had broken down.

As it turned out, they needn’t have worried for long.  

“The machine was fixed in just 18 hours,” recalls Doctor Lícia Cavalcante, the Managing Director. “Meanwhile, we were able to keep running tests and delivering results on time because the consortium operator owns another hospital in Salvador.”

Hospital do Subúrbio opened in September 2010. It’s the first one working under a public-private partnership model in Brazil. It was also the first state hospital built Salvador’s metropolitan area in 20 years.

More than 1 million low-income residents from eleven neighborhoods live nearby – making up about 25 percent of Salvador’s population.   

Over the past two years, 283,000 people have been treated and about 1.1 million tests have been carried out, doubling the projected goals.

“These figures show how high-quality health services are in demand among Salvador’s poorest,” says Cavalcante, while adding that critical patients make up more than 40 percent of cases. “Many people look for us because they know we have good facilities and staff,” he said.

Blood test labs, for example, feature top-notch equipment according to Coordinator Tatiana Rodrigues.

“I’m happy that we have this hospital in the suburbs because now we don’t have to wait so long,” said student Luã Carvalho. “The lack of public transport is the only bad thing.”

All aspects of the PPP structuring were assisted by the International Finance Corporation.

The project was structured as a 10-year concession contract, which can be renewed for an additional 10 years. Over this period, the concessionaire will be responsible for equipping, maintaining and operating both clinical and non-clinical services at the hospital.