There has been a lot of talk, inside and outside the country, of the slaughter that has befallen Brazil since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Recently, Brazil was considered the country with the worst global response to the Sars-CoV-2 health crisis, according to Australia’s famous Lowy Institute.
In recent weeks, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has come to assert that the pandemic situation in Brazil is a threat to Latin America and the world.
Brazil against its foreign policy
Brazil is today one of the countries with the most restrictions abroad for the entry of travelers.
It cannot be otherwise, given the constant and unprecedented violation of the Brazilian right to life and health, directly promoted by the federal government and its representatives.
The smokescreen raised by false information and the hate war that has raged in the country since the last elections in 2018, potentiates a tangle of facts and versions.
In this scenario, the actions and speeches of President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) are often aimed at obscuring the real situation in the country, diverting attention from the mismanagement of the executive – especially the Ministry of Health. – in the fight against the pandemic. .
In retrospect, the sum of acts against public health during the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil reflects a movement that is systematically contrary to the deliberate history of the country, both in the context of health policies and in international cooperation agreements. In the region.
It is unfortunate that even with one of the largest public and universal healthcare systems in the world, SUS, former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said in an official ceremony that before taking office, “I did not even know what the SUS ‘.
Apart from political ideologies, nothing that is happening in Brazil today represents the history of the country’s action in the field of health, or in foreign policy.
Height and crisis of Brazilian diplomacy in the field of health
Brazilian diplomacy, throughout most of its Republican history, has been guided by autonomy and pragmatism, paradigms abandoned by the current government.
The governments of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB), for example, have expanded international partnerships and participation in several global forums. Certain initiatives, many of which were led by the then Minister of Health, José Serra, reinforced an innovative policy of access to AIDS drugs, in particular by associating the theme of health with the concept of fundamental human rights.
Within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Doha Declaration of 2001 on TRIPS and public health is an example of the leading role of Brazil by proposing an interministerial meeting which made it possible to interpret the international agreements of intellectual property in the light of the public interest., defending the primacy of health over the rules of international trade.
In the wake of the reduction in the costs of antiretroviral drugs, Brazil declared for the first time, in 2007, the violation of the patent of a foreign drug.
Then, President Lula da Silva and Minister of Health José Gomes Temporão gave rise to the process with the publication of Ordinance 886/2007, declaring the drug Efavirenz, from the American laboratory Merck, as of public interest.
The governments of Lula’s PT and Dilma Rousseff have boosted Brazil’s international performance in the health agenda, largely on the basis of strengthening cooperation between the countries of the so-called Global South.
In 2011, the BRICS, an alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, hosted a meeting of their health ministers in China, the aim of which was to facilitate the universal access to medicines.
On this occasion, the transfer of technology between members of the bloc and other developing countries was approved to increase the production capacity of drugs at affordable prices.
For Brazil, one of the largest importers of laboratory and hospital supplies from China and India, following past cooperative policies and trade alliances would maximize political, economic and social gains for the country. short term, especially during the pandemic.
However, the current Brazilian chancellor, Ernesto Araújo, insists on the theory of the “Chinese virus” as a form of domination by other countries, in addition to publicly attacking the WHO, a body in which Brazil has already occupied one of the 34 executive seats. Council, from 2004 to 2007, having been re-elected for four years (2008 to 2011).
These measures have had no other effect than further delaying the shipment of new vaccines to Brazil.
The defense of health as a fundamental human right
The retrospectives bring us a great feeling of dystopia.
By presenting itself to the world with a negationist message, which disqualifies science, disseminates false information and institutionally promotes an increase in the number of deaths by not fighting the pandemic, Brazil is increasingly losing its international status in the field of health. number of lives in its territory.
With this position, the chance to articulate as a whole so that the countries of the South receive more doses is also lost, since China, India and Russia have already developed their own vaccines, in addition to the United States. and the United Kingdom.
According to figures published in January by the WHO, for 39 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines distributed among 49 developed countries, a poor country receives only 25 doses.
Immunization equality is a basic assumption for ending the pandemic, however, after decades of renowned Brazilian vaccination programs, President Bolsonaro publicly declares that he will not take the Covid-19 vaccine and encourages the population to do the same, referring to up to the possible side effects.
The consequences don’t stop.
Awarded internationally for its benchmark social programs in the fight against hunger (as in 2010, at the UN), Brazil has taken a step backwards: in 2021, it is preparing to face the reality of more than 60 million Brazilians below the poverty line after the end of emergency aid.
It is necessary to fight against the institutionalized propaganda of the federal government in disagreement with current health practices, the dissemination of false or scientifically unproven information and the normative acts followed by the Union contrary to public health, including those which restrict or delay responses from state governments. and municipal to the pandemic.
Political and, above all, social mobilization around health as a fundamental human right remains crucial to consolidate the gains already obtained, avoid further setbacks and promote immediate progress in the context of the greatest health crisis of the century.