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The National Health Policy for people with disabilities in Brazil: an analysis of the content, context and the performance of social actors


The purpose of this article is to analyse the circumstances in which the National Health Policy for Persons with Disabilities (PNSPCD) came into place in 2002 and the factors supporting or impeding its implementation from 2002 to 2018. The analysis was based on the Comprehensive Policy Analysis Model proposed by Walt and Gilson and focussed on understanding the context, process, content and actors involved in the formulation and implementation of the Policy. Data were obtained from two sources: document analysis of the key relevant documents and seven key informant interviews. Content analysis was undertaken using the Condensation of Meanings technique. The research demonstrates that the development and implementation of PNSPCD is marked by advances and retreats, determined, above all, by national and international macro-political decisions. The policy was formulated during Fernando Henrique’s governments, under pressure from social movements and the international agenda and constituted a breakthrough for the rights of persons with disabilities. However, progress on implementation only took place under subsequent centre-left governments with the establishment of a care network for people with disabilities and a defined specific budget. These developments resulted from the mobilization of social movements, the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities and the adherence of these governments to the human rights agenda. The coming to power of ultra-right governments triggered fiscal austerity, a setback in the implementation of the care network and a weakening in the content of various social policies related to the care of people with disabilities. During this era, the political approach changed, with the attempt to evade the role of the State, and the perspective of guaranteeing social rights. Undoubtedly, the neoliberal offensive on social policies, especially the Unified Health System, is the main obstacle to the effective implementation of the PNPCD in Brazil.

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Journal Article
Lyra TM
Veloso de Albuquerque MS
Santos de Oliveira R
Morais Duarte Miranda G
Andréa de Oliveira M
Eduarda Carvalho M
Fernandes Santos H
Penn-Kekana L
Kuper H