Photo: Karina Zambrana/Ascom-MS

In view of the failures and omissions of the federal authorities in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic, the responsibility for preventing further deaths has fallen on the health system and its professionals. But what happens in the territories and regions that do not have enough doctors?

The Public Civil Action filed by the Federal Public Defender’s Office is intended to allow health professionals trained abroad to be hired during the pandemic to rebalance the distribution of doctors across the country.

On the other side of the case, the federal government and the Federal Council of Medicine have suggested, without any evidence, that foreign doctors are not qualified to work in Brazil and, therefore, that before they can be hired they need to pass the Revalida examination. At the time the case was filed, this examination had not been administered by the federal government since 2017. 

Since it believes that this is an urgent matter, with major repercussions on the lives of millions of people, Conectas requested admission as an assistant to the plaintiff – a condition that would give it similar status in the case as the Federal Public Defender’s Office. 

In its request, the organization explained that there is an unacceptable inequality in the distribution of health professionals in Brazil – and that the highest incidence of cases and deaths has been recorded precisely in places with less access to doctors and health facilities

As a precedent, it cites the Direct Action of Unconstitutionality No. 5035, which challenged the Mais Médicos (More Doctors) program. In November 2017, the Supreme Court refuted the arguments against the program and rejected the claim that the Constitution requires the validation of foreign medical diplomas. 

Conectas also highlighted the need for emergency legal measures to address the situation caused by the pandemic and challenged the argument that these professionals are less qualified to work in the country. The organization cited as an example against this argument the publication of Provisional Executive Order No. 934 by the federal government, which permitted early graduation for medical students who have completed 75% of their coursework. 

Technical information

  • Case: ACP 5007182-62.2020.4.03.6100 
  • Court: Federal Court of São Paulo – 25th Federal Civil Court
  • Status: Awaiting the trial court judgment and the decision on the request by Conectas.
  • Procedure:
    • 6/18/20: Presentation of request for admission as an assistant to the plaintiff