On the heels of the news that the Brazilian Attorney General has launched an investigation into an alleged bribing scheme among lawmakers and construction companies related to the 2016 Olympic Games, Games host Rio de Janeiro has just declared a health sector state of emergency.
The declaration, signed this week by Rio governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and Secretary of Health Care, Alberto Beltrame, is in response to the state having run out of funds to maintain the overall operation of its public health system. The governmental response comes as hospitals, emergency rooms and health clinics cut services or closed units throughout the state as money ran out for equipment, supplies and salaries.
According to the Business Insider, Rio de Janeiro estimates that in health alone it owes 1.4 billion reais ($355 million) to employees and suppliers and needs about 350 million reais immediately to reopen closed hospital units and clinics.
The ‘state of emergency’ measure is aimed at providing additional support to hospitals across the state, with Rio now set to receive R$297 million (£51 million/$75 million/€69 million) according to Pezão, which will include funding from the Federal Government. Additional funds will come in the form of a Rio City Government loan of approximately R$100 million (£17 million/$25 million/€23 million).
“We are channeling every effort to keep the units running, we have created a crisis cabinet and decreed emergency in Rio de Janeiro,” Pezão told The Rio Times. “This partnership with the Federal Government and the City Hall is essential. “The state has no money machine. “We depend on these transfers, especially given the severity of the financial crisis in the country, which has serious consequences for our state.”
“We are living through a very difficult situation in the state, perhaps the most difficult of any of the Brazilian states,” Pezão told reporters, “but we are counting on the federal government, President Dilma Rousseff and everyone else to pull the state out of this situation as quickly as possible.”
This situation is just one of many looming over the 2016 Olympic Games, as we have comprehensively covered past issues, some of which are still plaguing the host city. Below is a quick hit list of past SwimSwam pieces covering the bumpy journey to Rio: