Medical Cooperative Provided Health Services At World Cup

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UNIMED, the largest system of medical co-operatives in the world and also the largest healthcare network in Brazil, is the official provider of emergency medical services at this year’s World Cup.

Throughout the event that runs from 12 June to 13 July, UNIMED will be providing medical services to all athletes and technical staff of all delegations taking part in the World Cup.

“We have an infrastructure across the country, with centres and hospitals and we will be responding to all necessities and requirements directly and individually. We are responsible for the health of all athletes, teams, officials and technical staff that will be involved in the World Cup,” explained Eudes de Freitas Aquino, President of UNIMED.

Founded in 1967 by Doctor Edmundo Castillo, UNIMED consists today of 354 medical co-operatives, which offer health services to more than 20 million customers. It has over 109,000 active physicians and 106 hospitals, as well as emergency care, laboratories and ambulances.

Dr Eudes de Freitas Aquino thinks the success of UNIMED was determined by the co-operative structure of the organisation.

“I think that all success of UNIMED and valorising of its brand all this is due to two things: a 47 years of work tradition and experience in the market, that helped to build what is today a powerful brand. But most importantly, is the fact that it is a group medical doctors that own their jobs and works in co-ops.

“When they put principles in practice correctly, co-ops can propose long-term sustainability and also propose an alternative and differentiate themselves from private health plans providers. A doctor in a co-op reinvests results in its own system, paying doctors and professionals, buying new technology, and by doing so, maintaining quality very high.

“The co-op model also adapts to circumstances of each époque. It always takes into account the market forces and evolution of medicine and suffers transformations and can always maintain position of main entity of health service provision of the country,” he said.

UNIMED has the 29th most valuable Brazilian trademark, according to Brand Finance Brazil, and its value is about USD $1.6 bn. Furthermore, around 12% of Brazil’s population is client of UNIMED, while the medical giant is covering over 83% of the national territory and accounts for 32% of the national health insurance market.

  • Brazil does not have enough physicians, especially outside the major metropolitan areas. The center-left government of President Dilma Rousseff forced through a program one year ago – against great opposition by Brazil’s medical establishment and the political Right – to contract through the Pan-American Health Organization 11,000 + primary care physicians from CUBA. Most are veterans of service in Haiti, Africa, Pakistan and over 50 other nations. Tens of thousands of Cuban physicians are working outside Cuba – but on behalf of the Cuban medical service industry.