The challenges faced by the More Doctors Program in providing and ensuring comprehensive health care in rural areas in the Amazon region, Brazil
The objective of this research was to assess how the More Doctors Program has been implemented in rural areas and the contributions made by providing physicians to ensure comprehensive health care. A study was conducted in a predominantly rural city in the state of Pará, involving 42 interviews with health professionals and managers, council members and users. The interviews then underwent content analysis. The results suggest that there have been improvements in primary health care – such as a higher number of consultations and expanded access to the primary care services offered – that can be attributed to the presence of the physicians and the use of more equitable strategies. However, there are still challenges to be confronted in order to ensure comprehensive health care in rural areas, such as maintenance of the program and overcoming recurrent problems, such as: lack of drugs and tests; limitations in follow-up on patients referred to other services; and weaknesses in the health care network.