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Sistema Único de Saúde

The Sistema Único de Saúde (Portuguese pronunciation: [sis.ˈte.mɐ ˈ dʒi sa.ˈu.dʒi], Single Health System), better known by the acronym SUS, is Brazil's publicly funded health care system. SUS which was created in 1989, is the largest (by number of beneficiaries/users : virtually 100% of the Brazilian population ; 220 million people) geographically (3.3 million square miles of contiguous land mass) by affiliated network/number of treatment centers (over 50,000 clinics) nondiscriminatory, government run public health care system in the world.

Sistema Único de Saúde
SUS official symbol
Publicly funded health service overview
FormedSeptember 22, 1988; 31 years ago (1988-09-22)
HeadquartersBrasília, Distrito Federal
Minister responsible
Parent departmentMinistry of Health

Since 1988 then went through many revisions and reorganizations with the objective of better organizing its scope, reach and decentralizing its hierarchy. The system is entirely free of any cost, for any person, including foreigners.


After the fall of the military dictatorship that ruled the country for 20 years, the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 sought to guarantee more rights and freedoms to the population, and set many objectives of social development. Among those, improving health care was set as a priority:

Two years later on 19 September 1990, the objectives set in the constitution were consolidated in the letter of the law by law number 8.080, whose articles created the SUS and defined its actuation.[2]

Prior to that, only people who contributed with the social security were able to receive health care. The creation of SUS was important in the sense that more than 80% of the Brazilian population depend on it to receive medical treatment. Brazil provides two-tier health care, but almost 25% of the population pay for private insurance.[3]

Institute of Cancer of São Paulo.
Hospital in Brasília.


The SUS's objectives are, by the law of its creation, defined as:[2]

  • The identification and publication of determinant and conditioning factors for human health;
  • The formulation of the health policy;
  • Assistance to the people through actions of promotion, protection and recuperation of health, with the integrated realization of assistance actions and preventive activities;
  • Sanitation and health surveillance;
  • Epidemiological vigilance;
  • Occupational safety and health;
  • Integral therapeutic assistance, including pharmaceutic;
  • Organization of the formation of health human resources;
  • Nutritional vigilance and orientation;
  • Collaboration with the protection of environment, including work environment;
  • Formulation of policies regarding drugs, equipment, immunobiologicals and other resources of interest for human health, and participation in its production;
  • The control and fiscalization of services, products e substances of interest for human health;
  • The fiscalization and inspection of food, water and beverages for human consumption;
  • The participation in the control and fiscalization of the production, transportation, safety and utilization of radioactive, toxic, and psychoactive substances and products;
  • Scientific and technological developments in its area of actuation;
  • The formulation and execution of the national policy for blood and its derivatives.


  1. ^ Brazilian Constitution of 1988
  2. ^ a b "L8080". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  3. ^ "Planos de Saúde Privado" ("Planos de Saúde Privado")

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