The Relevance of Color/Race Data in Measuring and Reducing Inequalities and Institutional Racism in the Brazilian Health Services

Objectives: This analysis analyses the coverage and reliability of the race/color item self-declaration, with data collected from the national health information system in Brazil – DATASUS, and from questionnaires completed by health staff working in the municipality of Camacari, Bahia State, Brazil. Methodology: A descriptive study of administrative data from national sources and a survey distributed at municipal level were included in the methodology. Results: The race-color data available in the national health system has very limited coverage and poor consistency, and the municipality does not have a local database to direct management and policies. The complexity and heterogeneity of health service types, a lack of integration of health records, the resistance of health workers to request and to complete race/color data, and the absence of a local database are the key reasons explaining the poor coverage and accuracy of race/color data. The questionnaire provided to health workers indicates that attitudes and behaviours are resistant, hampering the enhancement of this item’s coverage and efficiency. CONCLUSION: These restrictions on the collection of racial information, which are necessary for the preparation and expansion of social policies and actions in the field of health, lead to the preservation of the situation of discrimination and exclusion of black people in the field of health, by disguising the racial peculiarities and diversities that exist in the country and by introducing policies and actions aimed at reducing discrimination and exclusion of black people.

Author(s) Details

Cristina Gomes
FLACSO, México.

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